Watching Citizen Kane

http://www.aellea.com/script/citizenkane_transcript.txt

NARRATOR
A collection of everything, so big that it can never be catalogued or appraised. Enough for ten museums. The loot of the world. Xanadu’s livestock — the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, the beasts of the field and jungle. Two of each, the biggest private zoo since Noah. Like the pharaohs, Xanadu’s landlord leaves many stones to mark his grave.

NARRATOR
For wife two, one-time opera singing Susan Alexander, Kane built Chicago’s Municipal Opera House. Cost — Three million dollars. Conceived for Susan Alexander Kane, half-finished before she divorced him, the still unfinished Xanadu. Cost — No man can say.

THATCHER
Yes, yes. But your methods! Do you know, Charles never made a single investment? Always used money to…

KANE
To buy things. Buy things. My mother should have chosen a less reliable banker. Well, I always gagged on that silver spoon. You know, Mr. Bernstein. If I hadn’t been very rich, I might have been a really great man.

THATCHER
Don’t you think you are?

KANE
I think I did pretty well under the circumstances.

THATCHER
What would you like to have been?

KANE
Everything you hate.

KANE
Mr. Thatcher. My ex-guardian. We have no secrets from our readers, Mr. Bernstein. Mr. Thatcher is one of our most devoted readers. He knows what’s wrong with every copy of Inquirer since I took over. Read the cable.

BERNSTEIN
Girls delightful in Cuba. Stop. Could send you prose poems about scenery but don’t feel right spending your money. Stop. There is no war in Cuba. Signed, Wheeler. Any answer?

KANE
Yes. “Dear Wheeler. You provide the prose poems. I’ll provide the war.”

BERNSTEIN
Well, you are pretty young, Mr., Mr. Thompson. A fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn’t think he’d remember. You take me. One day, back in eighteen ninety-six, I was crossing over to Jersey on a ferry and as we pulled out there was another ferry pulling in and on it there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on, she was carrying a white parasol. I only saw her for one second. She didn’t see me at all but I’ll bet a month hasn’t gone by since that I haven’t thought of that girl.

THOMPSON
He [Thatcher] made an awful lot of money.

BERNSTEIN
Well, it’s no trick to make a lot of money if all you want is to make a lot of money.

KANE
Mr. Carter, here’s a three-column headline in the Chronicle. Why hasn’t the Inquirer a three-column headline?

CARTER
The news wasn’t big enough.

KANE
Mr. Carter. If the headline is big enough, it makes the news big enough.

LELAND
I changed the subject, didn’t I? What a disagreeable old man I have become! You are a reporter. You want to know what I think about Charlie Kane. Well, I suppose he had some private sort of greatness. But he kept it to himself. He never gave himself away. He never gave anything away. He just left you a tip. Hmm? He had a generous mind. I don’t suppose anybody ever had so many opinions. But he never believed in anything except Charlie Kane. He never had a conviction except Charlie Kane in his life. I suppose he died without one. That’s been pretty unpleasant. Of course, a lot of us check out without having any special convictions about death. But we do know what we’re leaving. We do believe in something. You’re absolutely sure you haven’t got a cigar?

THOMPSON
Wasn’t he ever in love with her?

LELAND
He married for love. Love. That’s why he did everything. That’s why he went into politics. It seems we weren’t enough. He wanted all the voters to love him, too. As all he really wanted out of life was love. That’s Charlie’s story, how he lost it. You see, he just didn’t have any to give. He loved Charlie Kane, of course, very dearly, and his mother, I guess he always loved her.

KANE
Well, if you got drunk to talk to me about Miss Alexander. Don’t bother. I’m not interested. I’ve set back the sacred cause of reform, is that it? All right. That’s the way they want it. The people have made that choice. It’s obvious the people prefer Jim Gettys to me.

LELAND
You talk about the people as though you own them, as though they belong to you. Goodness! As long as I can remember, you’ve talked about giving the people their rights as if you could make them a present of liberty as a reward for services rendered.


LELAND
It won’t do any good. Besides, you never get drunk. You used to write an awful lot about the working man.

KANE
Oh, go on home!

LELAND
He’s turning into something called organized labor. You’re not gonna like that one little bit when you find out it means that your working man expects something as his right, not your gift, Charlie. When your precious underprivileged really get together, oh, boy, that’s gonna add up to something bigger than your privilege and I don’t know what you’ll do. Sail away to a desert island, probably, and lord it over the monkeys.

KANE
I wouldn’t worry about it too much, Jed. There’ll probably be a few of them there to let me know when I do something wrong.

LELAND
Mmm. You may not always be so lucky.

KANE
You’re not very drunk.

LELAND
Drunk. What do you care? You don’t care about anything except you. You just want to persuade people that you love them so much that they ought to love you back. Only you want love on your own terms. It’s something to be played your way according to your rules. Charlie, I want you to let me work on the Chicago paper.

SUSAN
You wouldn’t want to hear a lot of what comes into my mind about myself and Mr. Charlie Kane. You know, I wish I never sang for Charlie the first time I met him. I did an awful lot of singing after that. To start with, I sang for teachers at a hundred bucks an hour. The teachers got that, I didn’t.

THOMPSON
What did you get?

SUSAN
I didn’t get a thing. Just the music lessons. That’s all there was in it.

THOMPSON
He married you, didn’t he?

SUSAN
Oh, he didn’t mention anything about marriage till after it was all over and it got in papers about us. And he lost the election and that Norton woman divorced him. He was really interested in my voice. What do you suppose he built that Opera House for? I didn’t want it. I didn’t want a thing. It was his idea. Everything was his idea except my leaving him.

SUSAN
Is that something from him? Charlie! As for you, you ought to have your head examined. Sending him a letter telling him he’s fired with a twenty-five thousand dollar check in it. What kind of firing do you call that? You did send him a check for twenty-five thousand dollars, didn’t you?

KANE
Yes. I sent him a check for twenty-five thousand dollars.

SUSAN
What’s that?

KANE
Declaration of Principles.

SUSAN
What’s the difference between giving me a bracelet or giving somebody else a hundred thousand dollars for a statue you’re gonna keep crated up and you’ll never even look at. It’s just money. It doesn’t mean anything. You never really give me anything that belongs to you, that you care about.

KANE
Susan, I want you to stop this.

SUSAN
I’m not gonna stop it.

KANE
Right now!

SUSAN
You never gave me anything in your whole life. You just tried to buy me into giving you something.

PHOTOGRAPHER
What did you find out about him, Jerry?

THOMPSON
Not much, really. We’d better get started.

NEWSPAPERMAN 3
What have you been doing all this time?

THOMPSON
Playing with a jigsaw puzzle.

ASSISTANT 11
If you could have found out about what Rosebud meant, I bet that would’ve explained everything.

THOMPSON
No, I don’t think so. No. Mr. Kane was a man who got everything he wanted, then lost it. Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn’t get or something he lost. Anyway, it wouldn’t have explained anything. I don’t think any word can explain a man’s life. No, I guess Rosebud is just a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. A missing piece. Well, come on, everybody. We’ll miss the train.

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About thomasfarley01

Freelance writer specializing in outdoor subjects, particularly rocks, gems and minerals.
This entry was posted in editing writing, revising writing, Thoughts on writing, Uncategorized, Writing by others and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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