Orson Welles' Citizen Kane has held a perfect 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes for decades — until a single negative review was unearthed 80 years after it debuted in theaters

By Alexia Fernández
April 27, 2021 08:25 PM
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Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane, Orson Welle's 1941 masterpiece, isn't as fresh as it used to be.

The Oscar-winning film was taken down a notch from its perfect Rotton Tomatoes score after a negative 80-year-old review was unearthed as part of the website's Archival Project.

The project is focusing on resurrecting critics and publications of the past and adding archived reviews to iconic Hollywood films.

The single negative review, out of a total of 116 that make up the film's score, came from a critic at the Chicago Tribune who wrote under the pseudonym used by the newspaper at the time, Mae Tinée (to sound like matinée).

A Twitter user spotted the change and shared photos of the 1941 review, which didn't mince words, going with the headline, "'Citizen Kane Fails to Impress Critic as Greatest Ever Filmed."

The review, which can be found on the movie's Rotten Tomatoes page under "Rotten," can only be viewed as a scanned newspaper clipping.

"You've heard a lot about this picture and I see by the ads that some experts think it "the greatest movie ever made." I don't," Tinée wrote at the time. 

"It's interesting. It's different. In fact, it's bizarre enough to become a museum piece," Tinée continued. "But its sacrifice of simplicity to eccentricity robs it of distinction and general entertainment value." 

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The critic criticized the film's iconic use of dark light and shadows, writing, "It gives me the creeps and I kept wishing they'd let a little sunshine in," but also praised Welle's acting in the lead role as Charles Foster Kane, calling him a "zealous and effective performer." 

While Citizen Kane may not be the freshest film, others are.

Paddington 2, 1938's The Adventures of Robin Hood, Leave No Trace, Rebecca, Modern Times, Singin' in the Rain, Charlie Chaplin's The Kid, The Maltese Falcon and The Philadelphia Story (1940) all have a 100 percent "fresh" score on the site.