This blog post is a long-form, critical review of the Rotten Tomatoes review of “Citizen Kane”, and is written by someone claiming to be the great-grandchild of the original director, Orson Welles. The post opens with, “I thought it was time to open up about the destruction caused by the Rotten Tomatoes film review site”, and it goes on from there.
The film critic of the New York Times, Bosley Crowther, hated this film when it was released, but if you haven’t seen it, all you need to know is that it is considered one of the highest-grossing movies of all time (the fourth-highest, in fact). One of the film’s biggest fans was Roger Ebert, who believed that the film was an important contribution to filmmaking (and considered it the best film of all time). In my review of the film, I found some of the film’s aspects a bit distracting, but I was ultimately able to enjoy the film.
PADDINGTON 2 has replaced CAIN CIVIL as the highest-rated film on Rotten Tomatoes after an 80-year-old review dropped the film from 100% to 99% pic.twitter.com/kHN2n6Rk7t
– DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) April 27, 2021
Twitter was great recently when we saw that the Paddington 2 (2018) movie was trending. The reason? A review of the nearly 80-year-old film Citizen Kane (1941) has been added to the Rotten Tomatoes database. Due to this bad (negative) review, Citizen Kane lost its 100% repeat rating, allowing Paddington 2 to claim the title of best movie of all time according to Rotten Tomatoes. While Paddington is getting a lot of attention, I’d like to point out the proverbial low score. Let’s take a look at the bad review of the movie Citizen Kane.
The movie Citizen Kane was released in 1941. Howard Mankiewicz and Orson Welles co-wrote the script. Wells also played the role of the titular Kane. The movie was very popular when it came out and has been called the best movie of all time over the years. The film was also nominated for nine Academy Awards and won the Original Screenplay Award. It was hard to find anything but praise for the film, until the Rotten Tomatoes team started digging through old newspaper clippings from the Chicago Tribune.
This review was originally published on 7. May 1941 published and written by May Tini. Teeny was the pseudonym of Francis Peck.
Peck, who, admittedly, I didn’t know before discovering this film, is a tough nut to crack. The title of the review is also incorrect: Citizen Kane failed to impress critics as the greatest film of all time. May came down from the top rope.
The clip they used on Rotten Tomatoes perfectly reflects their opinion of the film:
That’s interesting. That’s something else. It’s even beautiful enough to be a museum piece. But the shift from simplicity to eccentricity robs it of its specificity and entertainment value.
– Mae Tini.
credit : Chicago Tribune, 7. May 1941. Retrieved from https://www.newspapers.com/clip/72431782/citizen-kane/
She praised the performance of the actors and the script. Judging by the title of the review, I’m curious to what extent expectations influenced his review. It’s hard when you go to a movie or show for the first time and everyone says it’s the best ever. If you announce online that you plan to see The Sopranos for the first time, you’ll be inundated with unsolicited announcements. And logically, this has always been the case.
Another interesting point in her review is that she pointed out the lack of a fully formatted disclamer at the beginning of the film. The film, which depicts the life of William Randolph Hearst, has caused quite a stir. Hearst himself is furious and uses his connections to make sure the film fails, financially. It seems Teeny is on the side of the real media mogul, not the fictional one on screen.
credit : Chicago Tribune, January 1915. Photo available at https://wfpp.columbia.edu/pioneer/frances-peck/
Overall, Mae Tini gave an excellent review of the film. Although Citizen Kane’s score on Rotten Tomatoes is dismal, it briefly justifies its criticism. I’m glad I went down the rabbit hole reading Tini’s other movie reviews; she’s a talented writer and a true representative of women in film. Stay tuned, I think there’s a lot more to the May Tini/Frances Peck story.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why was Citizen Kane controversial?
Well, I’m not a movie expert, but I know Citizen Kane was controversial at the time because it was a brand new type of movie that didn’t fit the mold of what people expected from movies. Citizen Kane was essentially a movie made just to be a movie, not to be entertaining. I know that sounds weird, but back then people didn’t expect movies to be just art. In fact, they were usually just a means to an end, and that end was to sell a product. Citizen Kane is the movie that proved that movies could be just for the sake of art, and could be successful. It was the Citizen Kane of it’s time: a daring, innovative, controversial film that placed its director on the map as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. However, when it was first released in 1941, Citizen Kane was widely criticized. Moviegoers of the time did not yet understand the new style of filmmaking Orson Welles had employed for the film, which they saw as an over-the-top, self-indulgent, overly-dramatic mess. But times change, and eventually people came to recognize Citizen Kane for what it truly is: a masterpiece that changed the world of filmmaking forever.
What was Rosebud mean in Citizen Kane?
Citizen Kane (1941) is possibly the most famous movie ever made and certainly the best movie the legendary Orson Welles ever directed. The film stars Welles as Charles Foster Kane, an immensely wealthy newspaper publisher. This film is famous for the various mysteries surrounding its main character, the ‘rosebud’ of the title. For years, movie lovers have debated the meaning behind Orson Welles’ cryptic final word (or word fragment) in his groundbreaking movie Citizen Kane. Did Rosebud mean the sled that was given to Kane as a child, the woman he loved, or something else? Regardless of what Rosebud means, it was the first time a movie used flashbacks to the point that it created a commentary on the meaning of life.
Is Citizen Kane worth watching?
Is Citizen Kane really worth watching? The movie Citizen Kane is not a very unique film. It is actually a very predictable movie. The movie Citizen Kane follows the life of Charles Foster Kane. He is a wealthy man who has been married three times and he is very eccentric. The story is about his life and how he rose to power in the newspaper business. Kane has many characteristics of a person who is narcissistic. One of the most notorious films of all time, Citizen Kane is Orson Welles’ magnum opus. Its legacy as one of the most influential and important films in cinematic history goes without saying. Is it worth watching for you, though? That depends on your tastes. If you’re a fan of the hard-boiled noir crime genre, Kane likely won’t be for you. It’s more a film about politics, the media, and the human psyche, and while these are all fascinating themes for a film, they aren’t necessarily the kinds of things that you’ll want to watch if you’re looking for a fun night at the theater.
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