The 80th anniversary of the premiere of Citizen Kane It has coincided with a most bizarre (and hilarious) controversy on the Internet. For years, the first film by Orson Welles flaunted in Rotten Tomatoes a perfect score thanks to the unanimity of positive reviews, but recently the website added a somewhat harsher old review and this removed her from the throne for the benefit of Paddington 2. Since then the networks have been filled with memes congratulating the new winner, and Citizen Kane it has to resign itself to ceasing to be the best film in history (at least according to this portal and a series of lists that have always agreed to place it in the first position).
Beyond the anecdote, the importance of Citizen Kane is beyond all doubt, and was in fact endorsed when last year David Fincher premiere Mank on Netflix investigating its complex genesis (and being nominated for several Oscars for it). However, did we get to have records of what Welles himself, who died in 1985, thought about the prestige of his work? Well yes: in honor of this anniversary The Hollywood Reporter has recovered a fragment of El show de Dick Cavett issued in 1970, where the filmmaker attended as a guest. During the interview, the presenter asked him if he considered that indeed Citizen Kane it was the best movie ever.
Welles did not take the question very seriously. “The truth is, no. The next time I do, it will be “, he replied jokingly, to later ensure that he never reviews his films and detail how William Randolph Hearst tried to destroy the project by discovering that Charles Foster Kane was inspired by him (something that we can observe in Mank). Although Welles assured that the film in which he was working at that time would be the best in history, the truth is that in those years his career was already in decline. Throughout the 60s he had signed great works such as The process, Chimes at midnight O An immortal story (released in 1962, 1965 and 1968), but in the following decade he only had to direct the documentary with some success Fraud.
Would you refer to Fraud like your next big movie during the interview with Cavett? And … would you have liked Paddington 2 to Orson Welles to have a chance to see it? Too many questions.