I have just described Citizen Kane. All of the above is true, which makes the fact that it is possibly the greatest film in American Film History even more amazing. Everything is perfect. The script (which Welles co-wrote), the actors (all relative unknowns except Welles and Joseph Cotton), the special effects (listen to Roger Ebert's Commentary on this special edition for details) and finally, the makeup-- You won't believe how great a job they do making 25 year old Welles look 60.
As for the story, it's done in a most interesting fashion. Charles Foster Kane (Welles) dies at the very beginning of the movie and utters his famous last word "Rosebud". A reporter is given the task of finding out just what that one word meant. So he goes and interviews all the people who knew Kane to try to learn the meaning of the word. In the process, we are shown Kane through the eyes of those who knew him. We never see Kane through his own eyes, always what his former associates saw.
This is interesting, because Kane is a tragic figure as seen by just about everyone. He is unhappy and lonely. We as an audience eventually learn the meaning of Rosebud. I have read reviews that complain that the movie is about this one thing (I won't reveal what it is). But long before we learn the identity of Rosebud, the film has made its point. What is the point? My opinion is that the film shows us basically the worthlessness and despair of materialism. Loving "stuff" or money will ultimately lead to unhappiness.
By the way, this movie almost was never seen. The man I spoke of at the beginning of the review is William Randolph Hearst, former newspaper magnate. He saw too much of himself in the film and sued to squash it. Fortunately he lost. The second disc in the set is a two hour documentary on this topic. It is also excellent and well worth a viewing.
One last thing. Although this movie has been ranked on the AFI list as number one American movie of all time, it did NOT win Best Picture in 1941. That film? "How Green was my Valley"