Rotten Tomatoes unearths an 80-year-old negative review of Citizen Kane


While Netflix’s Mank, a black-and-white drama about the man who wrote Citizen Kane, Herman J. Mankiewicz, was up for 10 Oscars last weekend, a fan noticed a surprising change in Citizen Kane’s glowing reviews.

Citizen Kane was one of just a handful of films to achieve a perfect 100% score on movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, along with other classics such as 12 Angry Men, Battleship Potempkin and more recent hits like The Terminator, Toy Story, Toy Story 3 and Paddington 2.

Rotten Tomatoes decided to upload an 80-year-old negative review from the Chicago Times, dropping its pristine 100% score to 99%.

Review change: While Netflix’s Mank, a black-and-white drama about the man who wrote Citizen Kane, Herman J. Mankiewicz, was up for 10 Oscars last weekend, a fan noticed a surprising change in Citizen Kane’s glowing reviews

Once perfect: Citizen Kane was one of just a handful of films to achieve a perfect 100% score on movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, along with other classics such as 12 Angry Men, Battleship Potempkin and more recent hits like The Terminator, Toy Story, Toy Story 3 and Paddington 2

Once perfect: Citizen Kane was one of just a handful of films to achieve a perfect 100% score on movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, along with other classics such as 12 Angry Men, Battleship Potempkin and more recent hits like The Terminator, Toy Story, Toy Story 3 and Paddington 2

While it’s ultimately unclear why the review was uploaded, it was first noticed by Twitter user @Caulimovirus on Saturday. 

‘Rotten Tomatoes literally dug up an 80 year old negative review of Citizen Kane and now the movie no longer has a 100% fresh rating,’ @Caulimovirus said.

The Chicago Times review was posted on March 2, attributed to ‘Mae Tinee,’ which was a collective pseudonym used by the paper’s film critics, referring to a ‘matinee’ showing of a movie.

Not perfect: 'Rotten Tomatoes literally dug up an 80 year old negative review of Citizen Kane and now the movie no longer has a 100% fresh rating,' @Caulimovirus said

Not perfect: ‘Rotten Tomatoes literally dug up an 80 year old negative review of Citizen Kane and now the movie no longer has a 100% fresh rating,’ @Caulimovirus said

Pseudonym: The Chicago Times review was posted on March 2, attributed to 'Mae Tinee,' which was a collective pseudonym used by the paper's film critics, referring to a 'matinee' showing of a movie

Pseudonym: The Chicago Times review was posted on March 2, attributed to ‘Mae Tinee,’ which was a collective pseudonym used by the paper’s film critics, referring to a ‘matinee’ showing of a movie

The review was titled, ‘Citizen Kane’ Fails to Impress Critic as Greatest Ever Filmed’ with the Rotten Tomatoes capsule review offering more details.

‘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,’ states the anonymous critic.

The review was posted on May 7, 1941, a day after the Chicago premiere of director Orson Welles’ beloved classic.

Premiere: The review was posted on May 7, 1941, a day after the Chicago premiere of director Orson Welles' beloved classic

Premiere: The review was posted on May 7, 1941, a day after the Chicago premiere of director Orson Welles’ beloved classic

Citizen Kane was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, but it only won one, Best Original Screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles.

The film, which follows the aftermath of the death of newsman Charles Thomas Kane, was Welles first film, and despite its lack of success at the Oscars, it’s considered by many to be the best feature film of all time.

The narrative structure used by Welles and Mankiewicz, along with the cinematography by Gregg Toland, editing by Robert Wise and music by Bernard Herrmann helped set the standard for films moving forward.

Oscar winner: Citizen Kane was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, but it only won one, Best Original Screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles

Oscar winner: Citizen Kane was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, but it only won one, Best Original Screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles

Rotten Tomatoes released a list of its ‘100 Club’ films last year, which all have at least 40 reviews or more.

Among the more modern 100% offerings are James Cameron’s 1984 sci-fi/action masterpiece The Terminator, the 1993 drama Searching for Bobby Fischer, Richard Linkater’s 1995 classic Before Sunrise, Pixar’s 1995 animated classic Toy Story (and its 1999 sequel Toy Story 2) and the 2018 sequel Paddington 2.

The list also features classics such as 1925’s Battleship Potempkin, 1940’s The Grapes of Wrath, 1941’s The Maltese Falcon, 1956’s Seven Samurai, 1957’s 12 Angry Men, 1957’s The 400 Blows, 1967’s Cool Hand Luke, 1971’s The Last Picture Show and 2008’s Man on Wire.

Citizen Kane was thrust into the spotlight last year with the new film Mank, starring Oscar nominee Gary Oldman as Mankiewicz, following his process writing the script, which was up for 10 Oscars but won just two (Best Production Design, Best Cinematography). 

Modern classic: Among the more modern 100% offerings are James Cameron's 1984 sci-fi/action masterpiece The Terminator, the 1993 drama Searching for Bobby Fischer, Richard Linkater's 1995 classic Before Sunrise, Pixar's 1995 animated classic Toy Story (and its 1999 sequel Toy Story 2) and the 2018 sequel Paddington 2 (above)

Modern classic: Among the more modern 100% offerings are James Cameron’s 1984 sci-fi/action masterpiece The Terminator, the 1993 drama Searching for Bobby Fischer, Richard Linkater’s 1995 classic Before Sunrise, Pixar’s 1995 animated classic Toy Story (and its 1999 sequel Toy Story 2) and the 2018 sequel Paddington 2 (above)

Classic: The list also features classics such as 1925's Battleship Potempkin, 1940's The Grapes of Wrath, 1941's The Maltese Falcon, 1956's Seven Samurai (above), 1957's 12 Angry Men, 1957's The 400 Blows, 1967's Cool Hand Luke, 1971's The Last Picture Show and 2008's Man on Wire.

Classic: The list also features classics such as 1925’s Battleship Potempkin, 1940’s The Grapes of Wrath, 1941’s The Maltese Falcon, 1956’s Seven Samurai (above), 1957’s 12 Angry Men, 1957’s The 400 Blows, 1967’s Cool Hand Luke, 1971’s The Last Picture Show and 2008’s Man on Wire.

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