When I read the name “Rosemond” on the envelope of the letter Rena sent me, I wept for three minutes for many reasons. One being, I had a happy ending for my book I have been authoring for eight years. And the other, it was like getting a letter rom my late sister, Christine.
Kane spends his last years building his vast estate and lives alone, interacting only with his staff. The butler recounts that Kane had said “Rosebud” after Susan left him, right after seeing a snow globe.
At Xanadu, Kane’s vast number of belongings are being catalogued, ranging from priceless works of art to worthless furniture. During this time, Thompson finds that he is unable to solve the mystery and concludes that “Rosebud” will forever remain an enigma. He theorizes that “Mr. Kane was a man who got everything he wanted, and then lost it. Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn’t get, or something he lost.” In the ending of the film, it is revealed to the audience that Rosebud was the name of the sled from Kane’s childhood – an allusion to the only time in his life that he was truly happy. The sled, thought to be junk, is burned in a basement furnace by Xanadu’s departing staff.
Three Rosebud sleds are made for the filming of “Citizen Kane.”
One is burnt along with the memories heaped in the mammoth fireplace at the end of the film. Two go missing.
In 1982 Spielberg spends $60,500 to buy one of the missing Rosebud sleds. Is it a fake? Spielberg doesn’t think so.
Spielberg says that Rosebud will go over my typewriter to remind him that quality in movies comes first.
Welles wonders why Spielberg didn’t just give him the money to write a script.
About ten this evening I put on my slippers and went to get my mail. I pulled a bundle out and noticed your letter nestled in a packet. On the walk back to my apartment I took a peek and noticed the beautiful handwriting, and the name “Rosemond”. There was this energy pouring from the envelope and flowing up my arm. When I opened it and saw the name “Bozeman” I began to cry. For several minutes I sobbed, let go tears of great relief as if you were my child who had been kidnapped, or lost, for all these years. And, now…..you are found.
In the history of letter writing, and receiving, I don’t think anyone was ever so moved. Then, I opened the envelope and read; “Here I am”.
If these were the only words this letter contained, then I had way more then enough to read for the rest of my days. My cup runneth over.
The most basic of all ideas was that of a search for the true significance of the man’s apparently meaningless dying words. Kane was raised without a family. He was snatched from his mother’s arms in early childhood. His parents were a bank. From the point of view of the psychologist, my character had never made what is known as “transference” from his mother. Hence his failure with his wives. In making this clear during the course of the picture, it was my attempt to lead the thoughts of my audience closer and closer to the solution of the enigma of his dying words. These were “Rosebud.” The device of the picture calls for a newspaperman (who didn’t know Kane) to interview people who knew him very well. None had ever heard of “Rosebud.” Actually, as it turns out, “Rosebud” is the trade name of a cheap little sled on which Kane was playing on the day he was taken away from his home and his mother. In his subconscious it represented the simplicity, the comfort, above all the lack of responsibility in his home, and also it stood for his mother’s love which Kane never lost.
In his waking hours, Kane had certainly forgotten the sled and the name which was painted on it. Casebooks of psychiatrists are full of these stories. It was important for me in the picture to tell the audience as effectively as possible what this really meant. Clearly it would be undramatic and disappointing if an arbitrary character in the story popped up with the information. The best solution was the sled itself. Now, how could this sled still exist since it was built in 1880? It was necessary that my character be a collector—the kind of man who never throws anything away. I wished to use as a symbol—at the conclusion of the picture—a great expanse of objects—thousands and thousands of things—one of which is “Rosebud.” This field of inanimate theatrical properties I wished to represent the very dust heap of a man’s life. I wished the camera to show beautiful things, ugly things and useless things, too—indeed everything, which could stand for a public career and a private life. I wished objects of art, objects of sentiment, and just plain objects. There was no way for me to do this except to make my character, as I have said, a collector, and to give him a great house in which to keep his collections. The house itself occurred to me as a literal translation in terms of drama of the expression “ivory tower.” The protagonist of my “failure story” must retreat from a democracy which his money fails to buy and his power fails to control. —There are two retreats possible: death and the womb. The house was the womb. Here too was all the grandeur, all the despotism, which my man had found lacking in the outside world. Such was his estate—such was the obvious repository for a collection large enough to include, without straining the credulity of the audience—a little toy from the dead past of a great man.