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Sat Jun 13, 2020, 07:02 PM

A query for (most likely) senior Citizen Kane purists [View all]

Is there anyone out there in DU land (of any age, but probably old-timers like myself) who viewed Citizen Kane before it was inexplicably mutilated? Yes, one of the most compelling sequences in the film was cut to a fraction of its original length before going to VHS in the early '80s and DVD later on!

In the prints I watched in the '60s & '70s (which I'll get to later), after the confrontation in Susan's rooms including Kane, Gettys & Emily, Gettys exits & starts slowly descending the hallway stairs, half-smiling, followed by an apoplectic Kane shouting, "I'M CHARLES FOSTER KANE… I'M NO CHEAP, CROOKED POLITICIAN…GETTYS!..SING SING!... etc., etc." This continues down four (maybe five) flights (no, Susan did NOT live on the second floor!), with Gettys maintaining the same expression & deliberate pace & Kane following in short bursts, stopping, & shouting mostly the same lines over & over. Caught on film was the moment the famously flat-footed Welles slipped down several stairs & (depending on the source) either sprained or chipped an ankle. In any case, he directed from a wheelchair for a week & wore a leg brace in later scenes.

It's been decades, but I believe this sequence ran for well over a minute, perhaps as long as 90 seconds, & imo ranks with the greatest set pieces in a film chock-full of them. I mean, talk about your metaphors! Kane's descent from the heights! Kane's big slip-up (a clumsy accident, but still)! In the current video version, of course, only a tiny snippet remains, running less than 20 seconds, a pale shadow of the original. In several frames near the end, Kane is heard shouting but his lips don't move, proof that an edit was made.

As to the historicity of the above, I saw Kane for the first time (16mm) in a film class at NY's School of Visual Arts in 1966 (coincidentally Kane's 25th anniversary) & can still remember how blown away I was at the end. For the next 10 years I caught Kane at its annual showing at the beloved Elgin Theater on lower 8th Avenue & also on TV (usually once a year). When retail VCRs arrived in the mid '70s I taped Kane (pausing for commercials) off WOR-TV channel 9, which at that time was owned by RKO Studios, where Kane was filmed. (In fact, the graphic at commercial breaks & before resuming -- copied from a still frame -- showed the scowling Kane at the top of the staircase at Susan's.) Had I forseen the future I would've treated that tape like gold, but in the course of my lifelong vagabonding the tape was lost. So it goes.

I've scoured the internets but have found no mention of this edit, let alone a clip of the original. I've reached out to both a respected film historian & the webmaster at Welles.net, but neither had seen the sequence nor could provide information regarding its fate. The earliest VHS I know of, RKO Studios' "Original Studio Version" from 1982, contains the edited sequence, & I'm not aware of any uncut DVD edition, including the several anniversary releases.

As we know, the original 35mm print of Kane burnt to a crisp in a warehouse fire decades ago (not unlike Rosebud), so there's no chance of a restored version being released. What I'm hoping for is that someone out there who lived in Noo Yawk or LA (or somewhere else? who knows?) during the '50s, '60's or '70s knows what I'm talking about. If so, please, please post a reply. If you also happen to own an uncut Kane tape, or know someone who does, I'd be extremely eager to hear from you. All comments are welcome, of course, even from those who think I'm hallucinating (I'm not).

To all who have read my entire long-winded post, I admire your patience & perseverance. Thanks!

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Reply A query for (most likely) senior Citizen Kane purists [View all]
Lord Ludd Jun 2020 OP
if..fish..had..wings Jun 2020 #1
Lord Ludd Jun 2020 #9
wryter2000 Jun 2020 #2
Lord Ludd Jun 2020 #5
JustAnotherGen Jun 2020 #3
Lord Ludd Jun 2020 #7
JustAnotherGen Jun 2020 #14
mountain grammy Jun 2020 #4
Lord Ludd Jun 2020 #6
mountain grammy Jun 2020 #8
CBHagman Jun 2020 #10
Lord Ludd Jun 2020 #11
CBHagman Jun 2020 #12
Lord Ludd Jun 2020 #13