le Citizen Cane demonstrates many technical innovations that would be seminal to the production of film, How Green was My Valley may be the better film taken overall – less influential, but more watchable and engaging in several ways.
Citizen Kane is largely hailed as the best movie ever made, and eventually canonized repeatedly in the American Film Institute’s “100 Films” series. There are many ways that Citizen Kane deserves all of these accolades it was a remarkable film, popular in its time, but also very influential to later films. It was not, however, immediately recognized for the kind of praise that it now garners. And this rests on the fact that Citizen Kane was influential primarily due to its many technical advancements. The opening shot of the film, for instance, has a crane shot dipping through a window, depicting the dead body of Kane, was completely novel and then repeated quite frequently. The film also used deep focus, which provided the viewer with the foreground, midground and background were all sharp and viewable, which in some ways made the film more akin to what the eye sees naturally. For all of this technical brilliance, which was incredibly influential, however, Citizen Cane, as a film, has many failings. The audience never really connects with any of the characters such as the distant Kane or the detached reporter following up on his final words. The stakes are not very high – no one knows why “rosebud” might be of any importance.
How Green was my Valley¸ on the other hand, was not seminal in any ways. It was an entirely traditional 1940s film which had minimal influence on the techniques of film making. Yet as a film, a piece of entertainment, it may have been more successful. Its story is compelling and engaging – one actually feels close to its characters, and worry over their troubles. It has an emotional depth that Kane lacks, and one feels more like a friend seeing a neighbor in trouble watching it,