New on Video: “Citizen Kane” The Criterion Collection 4K UHD

In the most dazzling debut feature in cinema history, 25-year-old writer-producer-director-star Orson Welles synthesized the possibilities of sound-era filmmaking into what could be called the first truly modern movie. In telling the story of the meteoric rise and precipitous fall of a William Randolph Hearst–like newspaper magnate named Charles Foster Kane, Welles not only created the definitive portrait of American megalomania, he also unleashed a torrent of stylistic innovations — from the jigsaw-puzzle narrative structure to the stunning deep-focus camera work of Gregg Toland — that have ensured that “Citizen Kane” remains fresh and galvanizing for every new generation of moviegoers to encounter it. 

Unlike many other masterpieces—such as, say, VertigoCitizen Kane never went through an initial period of disfavor. True, it was a financial disappointment, but that had more to do with the partial suppression of its release by an industry feeling the heat from the powerful press baron William Randolph Hearst, on whose life Kane is loosely based. But Citizen Kane was a cause célèbre long before Hearst caught wind of it during previews. It was one even before the cameras started rolling. Before he was an actor and director of films, Orson Welles was a theater and radio wunderkind—a brilliant, charismatic, and impossibly young figure who had quickly become a bit too ubiquitous. By the time he arrived in Hollywood, “Little Orson Annie” was already the subject of parodies.

Formats: 4-disc 4K UHD/Blu-ray combo and 3-disc Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, with the uncompressed monaural soundtrack. In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film is presented in Dolby Vision HDR and three Blu-rays with the film and special features 

Extras: Three audio commentaries: from 2021 featuring Orson Welles scholars James Naremore and Jonathan Rosenbaum, from 2002 featuring filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, and from 2002 featuring film critic Roger Ebert; “The Complete Citizen Kane,” (1991), a rarely seen feature-length BBC documentary; new interviews with critic Farran Smith Nehme and film scholar Racquel J. Gates; new video essay by Orson Welles scholar Robert Carringer; new program on the film’s special effects by film scholars and effects experts Craig Barron and Ben Burtt; interviews from 1990 with editor Robert Wise, actor Ruth Warrick, optical-effects designer Linwood Dunn, Bogdanovich, filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Henry Jaglom, Martin Ritt, and Frank Marshall, and cinematographers Allen Daviau, Gary Graver, and Vilmos Zsigmond; new documentary featuring archival interviews with Welles; interviews with actor Joseph Cotten from 1966 and 1975; “The Hearts of Age,” a brief silent film made by Welles as a student in 1934; television programs from 1979 and 1988 featuring appearances by Welles and Mercury Theatre producer John Houseman; program featuring a 1996 interview with actor William Alland on his collaborations with Welles; selection of The Mercury Theatre on the Air radio plays featuring many of the actors from “Citizen Kane”; trailer. 

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and three Blu-rays with the film and special features
  • Three audio commentaries: from 2021 featuring Orson Welles scholars James Naremore and Jonathan Rosenbaum; from 2002 featuring filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich; and from 2002 featuring film critic Roger Ebert
  • The Complete “Citizen Kane,” (1991), a rarely seen feature-length BBC documentary
  • New interviews with critic Farran Smith Nehme and film scholar Racquel J. Gates
  • New video essay by Orson Welles scholar Robert Carringer
  • New program on the film’s special effects by film scholars and effects experts Craig Barron and Ben Burtt
  • Interviews from 1990 with editor Robert Wise; actor Ruth Warrick; optical-effects designer Linwood Dunn; Bogdanovich; filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Henry Jaglom, Martin Ritt, and Frank Marshall; and cinematographers Allen Daviau, Gary Graver, and Vilmos Zsigmond
  • New documentary featuring archival interviews with Welles
  • Interviews with actor Joseph Cotten from 1966 and 1975
  • The Hearts of Age, a brief silent film made by Welles as a student in 1934
  • Television programs from 1979 and 1988 featuring appearances by Welles and Mercury Theatre producer John Houseman
  • Program featuring a 1996 interview with actor William Alland on his collaborations with Welles
  • Selection of The Mercury Theatre on the Air radio plays featuring many of the actors from Citizen Kane
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: Deluxe packaging, including a book with an essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri

    New Cover by Mike McQuade