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.
Call#: Van Pelt Library PN1997.C51173 W35 2004
According to this source, at a meeting between Hearst and his team of writers revealed that Hearst was willing to pay upwards of $1 Million dollars to obtain all the original materials associated with Citizen Kane in order to ensure the film was never released and was destroyed forever. As he could not expect the offer to go through, he took measures to blackmail Schaeffer and Welles in his paper, running a series of highly exaggerated articles about Schaeffer’s “corrupt” breach of contract with a dissatisfied client – which turned out to be a non-event settled out of court for very little money – and made a series of outrageous claims that Welles was a communist for over two weeks after Welles did a radio show with some controversial material in it. Perhaps most interesting, however, is the citation of an interview done in 1982 in which Welles alleged that Hearst and his men had planted a 14-year-old girl in his hotel room one night with camera men in the closet ready to blackmail him had he not been tipped off that night. Though the claim seems exaggerated, the author makes a compelling argument that this is the type of stunt that Hearst was quite capable of arranging.
Ultimately, the chapter continues, Schaeffer holds a meeting outlining the importance of refusing Hearst’s offer and releasing what he expects may be the highest grossing movie of all time, as no film had ever received so much pre-release publicity.