Crowther, Bosley. "The Ambiguous 'Citizen Kane'" The New York Times 4 May 1941: X5.
This Bosley Crowther review of Citizen Kane accomplishes in highlighting several aspects that contribute to or impede the success of the film. The publicity created by the films possible connection to William Randolph Hearst and his tactics of yellow journalism created an attitude in the public that helped the film succeed. Their dislike of Hearst’s yellow journalism techniques made viewers eager to cling to any attacks on his character, which could be inferred through the portrayal of Kane. While the film fails to conclude that Kane was indeed guilty of yellow journalism or any other amoral actions, the eagerness the audience had to find such connections fueled the success of the film. Also, Crowther praises the innovative film techniques employed by Welles and Toland to make the film a visual masterpiece. The filmmakers mastery of and excitement toward the art of cinema was an incredible contributor to Citizen Kane’s success.
While Crowther does concede that Citizen Kane is quite above average and an overall success, he raises an argument against the film as truly great one. He states that the lack of clarity that the ending brings to the mystery of ‘Rosebud’ makes the theme of the movie ambiguous and vague. As relates to my thesis, the piece provides support for the idea that the intended meaning of ‘Rosebud’ is quite unclear, even to film critics such as Crowther. It pushed me to explore the idea that it’s significance is merely misunderstood as opposed to altogether ambiguous as is asserted by Crowther in this piece. This kind of feedback also pressured Welles to respond with evidence that 'Rosebud' is in fact clear.