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'Citizen Kane' Loses Perfect Rotten Tomatoes Score Thanks To Resurfaced 80-Year-Old Review

Wednesday April 28, 2021. 09:00 AM , from Slashdot
Rotten Tomatoes has unearthed a 1941 review of Orson Welles' classic that single-handedly took down its decades-long perfect critics' score. From The Hollywood Reporter: Citizen Kane's score across 116 reviews has been reduced to a mere 99 percent 'Fresh.' The ranking slip is due to a single negative review that was recently unearthed by Rotten Tomatoes as part of the site's Archival Project, which focuses on resurrecting critics and publications of the past and adding archived reviews to classic films. The project discovered a Citizen Kane review that ran in the Chicago Tribune in 1941 and is only available online as a scanned newspaper clipping. Last month, the review was quietly added to Kane's page.

The review's headline is incredibly on point, given the circumstances: 'Citizen Kane Fails to Impress Critic as Greatest Ever Filmed.' If that sounds like somebody went to the theater with rather high expectations, the review confirms as much. '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.' The review went on to pan the film's iconic use of shadow ('it gives me the creeps and I kept wishing they'd let a little sunshine in'), yet praised Welles in the title role ('a zealous and effective performer').

The critic apparently didn't put their real name on the piece, but, as Boing-Boing pointed out, used the common-at-the-time pseudonym Mae Tinee (say it aloud). But whoever wrote it managed to pen a bomb that took 80 years to effectively detonate and blow up Citizen Kane's perfect score. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the first Citizen Kane reviews were added to the site in 2000 and the film most likely had a consistent 100 percent score for the past two decades -- until Mr./Ms. Tinee's dismissive takedown was discovered.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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