It wasn’t bad.
The movie itself was well acted, well directed and shot, and the writing surely wasn’t bad when you look at the themes conveyed by it.
But despite all the good ingredients, you were left with a less than enthralling two hours of screen time that Peter Griffin confirmed.
Oh sure, it had revolutionary filming techniques one wouldn’t expect in the 1940s, but hearing this filmed called again and again the best of all time, you somehow expect more. It gets built up to expectations that not only was it a good film for technical reasons, but that you also would be entertained by it, and more so than less grossing films. This did not come to pass.
The lesson is clear. No amount of exquisite junk can fill a void you have in your life that needs stable relationships and a strain of normalcy in coming of age.
Had Charles been less headstrong about his media endeavors he might have been able to maintain a solid marriage with his first wife. But growing up under hard rule he was eager to break free and make some noise in the world that once shut him out. You could go as far as to call him a victim of circumstance, but his reckless free will was made obvious even as a young man. You could just say there was no stopping him.
One thing I would like to point out is how Susan was a much happier, more fulfilled seeming character before she got involved in the ills of Charles and his unwieldy fortune. No amount of money could fix the problems that came up between her and Charles.
Charles himself seemed quite insatiable as well. As a young lad he wasn’t happy with his coldly acquired living arrangements. The same arrangements rocketed him to fame and fortune. Late in life he wasn’t happy with a traditional portfolio and wanted to run a paper, maybe just to have the illusion of a grip on the world. This lost him money temporarily, but surely returned it to him time and time over. This was not relevant. Every newly acquired thing in his life let him down at a rate that set his sights on the latest distraction to occupy his time, until there was another. This did not cease until his death.
If you wanted to get ultimate here, you could say the lack of a normal childhood was the complete source of this deficiency and materialism in his mind. We cannot know as he did not live for real, but we can apply the themes of this story to people we see in reality, as a study of the human state.
A decent example in our lifetime I would say is Michael Jackson. Not only could no amount of affluence and matter restore the abyss torn in him by a fragmented upbringing, but he never even accepted himself physically. He hadn’t lost his mind – he told us about equality. He had just been damaged. Damaged beyond repair.