If you’ve ever had to socialize with film majors, you’ve likely rolled your eyes at the inevitable conversation about how Citizen Kane is the best film ever made. Who could beat Orson Welles’ genius?! Rosebud, man, Rosebud... After all, the film (never to be referred to as a movie) has a certified fresh accreditation on Rotten Tomatoes, with a perfect score—or at least it did, until now.
As someone spotted on Twitter, Rotten Tomatoes added an unfavorable review that lowered its perfect score to 99 percent. A Chicago Tribune critic who used the pseudonym Mae Tinée (wink wink) staunchly disagreed with those who claim it is the greatest film of all time, giving it a negative review. The review was published 80 years ago, and even then it acknowledged the film’s reputation as one of Hollywood’s biggest masterpieces, with the headline “Citizen Kane Fails To Impress Critic As Greatest Ever Filmed.”
Apparently the critic’s beef with the film is that was too darn eerie for their liking. The critic wrote that it “presents an almost clinical dissection of a complete egotist. It runs to gargantuan sets and arty photography—shadowy and spooky—which, however, according to our Eddie Johnson, is something for the books... I wouldn’t know about that. I only know it gives one the creeps and that I keep wishing they’d let a little sunshine in...”
So Citizen Kane’s perfect score was ruined because the cinematography was just not doing it for “Mae Tinée,” even though the critic thinks Welles “proves a zealous and effective performer in the title role” and they really liked Everett Sloane as Charles Foster Kane’s manager. Citizen Kane also lost its title of the highest rated Rotten Tomatoes title and is tied with It Happened One Night. Interestingly enough, despite being tied at 99 percent, Black Panther beat Citizen Kane at 96 percent, and is now in the #2 slot with Welles’ film following it, because the Marvel movie had more reviews, totaling at 520. Rotten Tomatoes’ ratings are arbitrary and ultimately meaningless, but now Marvel fans can proudly tell everyone that Black Panther is a better movie than Citizen Kane with the questionable stats to back it up.