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Explanation of "Rosebud" reference in strip #548 without spoiling the movie it refers to.

Hi. The fact that you are reading this means that either:

  1. You didn't get the reference to "Rosebud" in the comic and you do want us to explain the joke to you without spoiling the movie that it is referencing, or
  2. You hate having jokes explained but you still came to this page anyway, despite us warning you not to. On your head be it.

Right then. The movie in question is the the 1941 classic Citizen Kane. Why should you even care about a movie made in 1941? Because it has often been called "the greatest movie ever made". It is truly a classic in all senses of the word, and pioneered many storytelling and cinematographical techniques that remain powerful to this day. It's like asking why should you care about Mozart if all you like is pop music, or Shakespeare if all you like is reading science fiction and fantasy. (We hope that these analogies are self-evident in that of course you should care about the classics, because otherwise you're missing out on a lot of the subtleties and intricacies of the modern works that have built on them, and your appreciation of them suffers for it. Wow, do we sound pretentious, or what?) Heck, Citizen Kane inspired several of the plot and visual elements in the Star Wars saga.

The movie opens with the death of Charles Foster Kane (the "Citizen Kane" of the title). On his deathbed, he utters his final word... "Rosebud". The rest of the movie follows a reporter who tries to uncover the mysterious secret behind this word. We're not giving away much here - this is all set up in the first few minutes of the film. The spoiler would be telling you what "Rosebud" means, which doesn't occur until the last moments of the film - so we're not going to reveal that. (However if you ignore our advice and Google "Rosebud", you're pretty much guaranteed to run across a site that reveals the secret - and hence spoils the entire movie for you. Don't do it.)

The reason we've spent this space telling you all of this is not because we actually wanted to explain the joke. We're not total dorks - we hate explaining the joke as much as anyone hates having jokes explained. We did however think it was important enough to avoid spoiling for you a movie that was made 70 years ago. That's how influential Citizen Kane is.


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Last updated: Thursday, 17 March, 2011; 01:55:37 PDT.
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