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Citizen Kane has been widely regarded as the best film of all-time and has enjoyed a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes which reflected that legacy, but thanks to a recently resurfaced 80-year-old review from the Chicago Tribune, the Orson Welles film now stands at a mere 99% on the review aggregator. Pathetic. I’ll be burning my Blu-ray copy immediately. Only the strong survive.
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Penned by Mae Tinée (which was a common pseudonym at the time), the negative review leads with the headline: Citizen Kane Fails to Impress Critic as Greatest Ever Filmed. “You’ve heard a lot about this picture and I see by the ads that some experts think it ‘the greatest movie ever made,'” reads the review. “I don’t. 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.” According to THR, the negative review was discovered by Rotten Tomatoes’ Archival Project, which “focuses on resurrecting critics and publications of the past and adding archived reviews to classic films.” The reviewer goes on to take aim at Citizen Kane‘s ground-breaking use of light and shadow, saying that it gave them the creeps and they “kept wishing they’d let a little sunshine in.” It’s not all bad however, as the reviewer does admit that Orson Welles is a “zealous and effective performer.” Does any of this mean anything? Well, unless you’re a card-carrying member of some Rotten Tomatoes cult, I’d say not, but it is an interesting snippet of history which proves that critics hated movies back in the day as well. Golly!
Although Citizen Kane has now been bumped from Rotten Tomatoes’ illustrious 100% club, there are plenty of other classic films which remain, including 12 Angry Men, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Anatomy of Murder, Frankenstein, The Gold Rush, The Grapes of Wrath, M, The Maltese Falcon, and more. So what, you might be asking, is now the best reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes? None other than Paddington 2!