Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane.
Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane.

‘A flop!’: 1941 review brings down Citizen Kane’s perfect score

The negative review, published by the Chicago Tribute on May 7, 1941, was the 116th review of the film on the website.
PTI | , Los Angeles
PUBLISHED ON APR 29, 2021 05:25 AM IST

Orson Welles’s “Citizen Kane”, widely considered one of the greatest movies ever made, has lost its 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes after the review aggregator website added a negative review from 80 years ago.

The negative review, published by the Chicago Tribute on May 7, 1941, was the 116th review of the film on the website.

The Chicago Tribune’s negative Citizen Kane review was published under the pseudonym “Mae Tinee” and accompanied with the title “Citizen Kane Fails to Impress Critic as Greatest Ever Filmed”, according to IndieWire.

The review was published a few days after the film first started rolling out into theaters in 1941. The critic branded the movie “a flop” and wrote that the film’s noir-inspired visuals and use of shadows “gives one the creeps and wishes “they’d let a little sunshine in”.

“It’s interesting. It’s different. In fact, it’s bizarre enough to become a museum piece. But its sacrifice of simplicity to eccentricity robs it of distinction and general entertainment value,” the review said.

The piece, according to IndieWire, was uploaded on Rotten Tomatoes in line with the launch of the RT Archives, an archival hub introduced in November 2020, which houses and preserves editorial content related to classic and historic films.

Not just Citizen Kane, classics such as A Night at the Opera, Double Indemnity, Home of the Brave, Victim, Mädchen in Uniform, The Dirty Dozen, and Gilda were issued new scores as part of the archival initiative.

Citizen Kane, or rather its making, was the subject of David Fincher’s multiple Oscar-nominated and two-time winner Mank. The movie, which won the Academy Award for best cinematography and best production design, focused on on Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz.

Widely considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made, Citizen Kane topped five consecutive British Film Institute Sight & Sound polls of critics, and ranked first in the American Film Institute’s 100 Years ... 100 Movies list in 1998 and in 2007. It won the Oscar for best writing and was nominated in nine categories, but the film famously lost the best picture award to John Ford’s family drama How Green Was My Valley.

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