There are certain motion pictures that any cinemaphile or general film lover worth their salt knows to watch. Among the titles on that list are The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, The Godfather, Star Wars – and of course, what the American Film Institute still ranks as the greatest American movie ever made, Citizen Kane.

Orson Welles’ 1941 masterpiece is long overdue to be unveiled in the Blu-ray format (it was rightly included on our 10 Movies That Need A Blu-ray Release list) – but now, some seventy years after the film’s initial theatrical release, it’s getting an upgrade to the best home video format around.

Citizen Kane is slated for release on Blu-ray this fall, on September 13th. As is to be expected, the original black-and-white print is being meticulously restored and cleaned up on a frame-by-frame basis, so as to counter the effects of the aging process. Much like Steven Spielberg’s Jaws Blu-ray, there will be no digital alterations or “corrections” made to Welles’ original work; it will be preserved whole, flaws (what little noticeable ones there are) and all.

On the off-chance you’ve not yet seen Citizen Kane (or need your memory refreshed): The film chronicles the efforts of news reporters to uncover “the truth” about the recently-deceased Charles Foster Kane (Welles), an immensely wealthy publishing tycoon whose public life was plagued by controversy. However, perhaps the most intriguing mystery of all is the meaning behind Kane’s final word: “Rosebud.”

Check out the famous opening sequence of Citizen Kane below:

Among the special features that will be included on the 70 anniversary Blu-ray collector’s edition of Citizen Kane are:

  • A 48-page booklet that includes a reproduction of the film’s original souvenir program
  • The Oscar-nominated documentary The Battle Over Citizen Kane
  • RKO 281, the Golden-Globe winning drama about the conflict between Welles (played by Liev Schrieber) and William Randolph Hearst (James Cromwell), the man whose life was the inspiration for Citizen Kane

The Blu-ray format seems an excellent fit for Citizen Kane, which still boasts some of the more luscious cinematography, picturesque shot composition, and ingenious sound design ever put to film. It’s a timeless tale about The American Dream (among other things) that heavily influenced essentially an entire generation of cinematic artists – and it remains a cornerstone of film theory and education to this day.

Beyond its cultural and historical significance, Citizen Kane is just a very entertaining piece of cinema. It’s an endlessly watchable picture that features several great performances, gorgeous visuals, and one of the most heavily-debated ambiguous endings ever put to film (yes, even more so than Inception).

To reiterate: Citizen Kane will hit Blu-ray later this year on September 13th, 2011.

Source: Warner Home Video (via THR)