If there is any contemporary figure out there that resembles Charles Foster Kane, it is that real estate mogul and unlikely GOP front runner, Donald Trump. Like Kane, Trump was educated in, and thrown out of, some of the most elite private schools out there. Both have huge, larger-than-life personalities that readily turned them into media icons. Both had tumultuous relationships with women that ended up tabloid fodder. Both ostentatiously flaunted their wealth. And both have grandiose political ambitions.
Above you can watch The Donald expound on Orson Welles’s masterpiece in a clip directed by none other than master documentary filmmaker Errol Morris. Trump is remarkably thoughtful in this piece compared to the campaign trail where he often sounds like a WWE barker channeling Mussolini. He comes to the movie from a vantage point that most of us just don’t have; namely, he knows what it’s like being obscenely wealthy.
Citizen Kane is really about accumulation. And at the end of the accumulation, you see what happens. And it’s not necessarily all positive. I think you learn in Kane that maybe wealth isn’t everything. He had the wealth; he just didn’t have the happiness. The table getting larger and larger and larger with he and his wife getting further and further apart as he got wealthier and wealthier, perhaps I can understand that…. Wealth isolates you from other people.
At the end of the piece, Morris asks Trump to give Kane some advice. His response, delivered with a smirk, is pure Trump – i.e. bombastic and misogynist. “Get yourself a different woman.”
The segment comes from an aborted project by Morris called Movie Movie, where he envisioned putting modern figures into the films they most admire. So imagine Trump actually in a re-enactment of Kane. Or, as also almost happened, imagine Mikhail Gorbachev starring in a reenactment of Dr. Strangelove. It’s a damned shame that Movie Movie never got made.
Below you can see more of Trump along with Gorbachev, Lou Reed, Walter Cronkite and others talking about their favorite movies in a video made for the 2002 Academy Awards.
Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring lots of pictures of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads. The Veeptopus store is here.