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Orson Welles did not believe his masterpiece Citizen Kane was the greatest film ever made, although for decades it has been regarded as such by cinephiles. The film, which actually premiered 80 years ago Saturday in New York City, has been back in the news lately after losing its perfect Rotten Tomatoes score.
The late, legendary filmmaker once told Dick Cavett he did not believe Citizen Kane was the greatest of all time, which the host of the classic talk show was baffled to hear.
“No, certainly not,” Welles replied to the question about Kane being the finest film ever made. “My next one is though,” Welles added with a wink during the 1970 interview.
Citizen Kane has been back in the news as of late after an old, poor review of the film tanked the picture’s perfect Rotten Tomatoes score. In doing so, only one movie now has a perfect score on the review aggregation site: Paddington 2 (2017). Some cinephiles took the change quite seriously, while others had fun with Paddington 2 holding the top spot alone.
In the same 1970 interview, Welles confirmed that William Randolph Hearst hated the project and allegedly tried to have the film destroyed. The tycoon Hearst believed the film was about him. Welles told Cavett the lead character played by Welles, Charles Foster Kane, was an amalgamation of people, but certainly, some Hearst was in there.
Watch the Welles interview below.
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Sterling K. Brown