Rachel: (talking about The Shining) What's the big deal? It's not like it's Citizen Kane.
Joey: Have you watched Citizen Kane?
Kane would not have become the unquestionable masterpiece it is without the crystalline point of view of the director and the actor, as mapped out in the script that Welles guided and co-wrote. The film could have been fashioned as a roman a clef of the life of William Randolph Hearst, which was only one of its inspirations. Co-scenarist Herman Mankiewicz was tempted by that line of approach. Kane could have been depicted as an ogre, a despot, which to some extent he isóbut not entirely. Welles had a larger idea of the character that makes any historical knowledge of Hearst irrelevant to appreciating the film nowadays. Welles saw Kane not as Hearst but as a prototypical American sultan for whom money can buy everything, except votes and love. But Welles humanized the character in the script and by his actingóthe dancing Kane, the ear-wiggles, and more. By the end of the film, one feels a genuine pity for Kane, his self-destruction, and the Rosebud that eluded him.