Are There Any Famous Cases Of A Critic Drastically Misjudging A Now-classic Film?




Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

In the captivating world of film, where opinions are as diverse as the stories being told, there is a peculiar phenomenon that occasionally occurs – the drastic misjudgment of a now-classic film by a critic. As we delve into the intriguing realm of movie reviews, we find ourselves pondering whether there have been any notable instances where a film was deemed unworthy of praise by critics, only to later be hailed as a masterpiece by audiences and stand the test of time. This article aims to explore this captivating question, bringing together film students, industry professionals, and curious minds to discuss the fascinating realm of movie reviews and their impact on the industry. With a focus on well-researched discussions, expert opinions, and intriguing anecdotes, we journey into the realm of critical misjudgment and the untold stories of films that defied expectations.

Overview of Film Review Industry

The role of film critics in shaping the public’s perception of movies

Film critics play a crucial role in shaping the public’s perception of movies. Through their reviews, they provide insights, analysis, and opinions that help viewers decide whether a film is worth watching. Critics often have extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of cinema, allowing them to offer valuable perspectives on various aspects of a movie, such as its story, performances, directing, and technical aspects. Their reviews can both inform and influence the audience, guiding them in their movie choices and shaping their overall perception of the film.

The impact of reviews on box office success

Film reviews can have a significant impact on a movie’s box office success. Positive reviews from influential critics can generate buzz, attract more viewers, and ultimately contribute to a film’s financial success. On the other hand, negative reviews can deter potential audiences and result in poor box office performance. In today’s digital age, where reviews are easily accessible and widely shared through online platforms, the impact of critics’ opinions on box office success has become even more pronounced. A single scathing review can quickly spread through social media, potentially affecting a film’s performance on its opening weekend.

The influence of critics on the film industry

Film critics also have a considerable influence on the film industry beyond box office performance. Their opinions can shape industry trends, influence awards nominations and wins, and even impact the creative decisions made by filmmakers. Positive reviews can help raise the profile of a lesser-known film, leading to increased opportunities for distribution and recognition. On the other hand, negative reviews can sometimes hinder a filmmaker’s career or contribute to the perception of a particular genre or style of filmmaking as being less valuable. The opinions of film critics can spark debates, discussions, and even fuel the evolution of the film industry as a whole.

Notable Films and Critics

A brief background of the films in question

Throughout the history of cinema, there have been numerous cases where critics drastically misjudged now-classic films. These films, initially met with negative reviews or lukewarm reception, eventually gained recognition as masterpieces, defying the initial critical consensus. Some of the most notable examples include “Citizen Kane,” “Blade Runner,” “The Shining,” “Vertigo,” “The Big Lebowski,” “Casablanca,” and “Singing in the Rain.” Let’s delve into the critical reception and subsequent reappraisal of these influential films.

Prominent critics who misjudged these films

In the cases of these notable films, even prominent and respected critics misjudged the movies, failing to fully comprehend their brilliance and significance. Their initial negative reviews showcased a disconnect between the initial critical consensus and the enduring legacy these films possess today. While it’s important to note that individual opinions may vary and critics are entitled to their own perspectives, it is fascinating to examine why such notable misjudgments occurred in the first place.

Citizen Kane: A Misjudged Masterpiece

Initial critical reception and negative reviews

When “Citizen Kane” was first released in 1941, it received mixed critical reception. While some critics praised the film’s innovative storytelling techniques and groundbreaking cinematography, others found it pretentious and confusing. Negative reviews highlighted the film’s unconventional narrative structure, with some critics struggling to follow its non-linear storytelling and layered themes. As a result, “Citizen Kane” initially struggled at the box office, failing to resonate with mainstream audiences as well.

Reevaluation and recognition as a classic

Despite the initial critical reception, “Citizen Kane” eventually found its place in film history. Over time, as more filmmakers and cinephiles recognized the film’s technical and narrative achievements, its reputation grew. The film’s portrayal of the rise and fall of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane, as well as its exploration of power and corruption, proved to be ahead of its time. It was through subsequent viewings and reassessments that “Citizen Kane” began to be regarded as a masterpiece, often topping lists of the greatest films ever made.

Critics’ misjudgment and reasons behind it

The initial misjudgment of “Citizen Kane” by critics may be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the film’s unconventional narrative structure challenged traditional storytelling norms, potentially alienating some viewers and critics who were accustomed to more straightforward narratives. Additionally, the film’s critical examination of a powerful media figure, possibly mirrored in the real world, may have made some critics uncomfortable or resistant to fully embracing its genius. Lastly, the expectation placed on Orson Welles, who co-wrote, directed, and starred in the film at a young age, may have affected some critics’ judgment, as they anticipated an even more revolutionary work of art.

Blade Runner: A Polarizing Perspective

Mixed reviews upon release

When “Blade Runner” was released in 1982, it received a mixed critical response. While some critics praised the film’s atmospheric visuals, thought-provoking themes, and innovative world-building, others found it confusing and lacking in emotional resonance. Negative reviews often focused on the film’s slow pacing, complex narrative, and perceived coldness. The initial critical reception and the subsequent box office disappointment positioned “Blade Runner” as a commercial failure rather than the influential sci-fi classic it is recognized as today.

Emergence of a cult following and critical reappraisal

Despite the lukewarm initial reception, “Blade Runner” eventually gained a devoted cult following and underwent a critical reappraisal. As audiences and critics revisited the film over the years, its dystopian vision of the future and philosophical musings on identity and humanity became more appreciated. The film’s visual aesthetic, courtesy of director Ridley Scott and production designer Lawrence G. Paull, was also recognized as groundbreaking, influencing countless films in the science fiction genre. “Blade Runner” went from being dismissed as a confusing and cold film to being celebrated as a thought-provoking and visually stunning masterpiece.

The critical misjudgment and factors contributing to it

The critical misjudgment of “Blade Runner” can be attributed to various factors. Firstly, the film’s blend of science fiction and film noir elements was ahead of its time, and critics may have struggled to classify or understand its unique genre. Additionally, the film’s pacing and deliberate storytelling style, emphasizing mood and atmosphere over conventional plot progression, possibly alienated some critics seeking more traditional narratives. Lastly, the ambitious philosophical themes explored in “Blade Runner” may have been too complex or abstract for some critics to fully appreciate in their initial viewings.

The Shining: A Divisive Reception

Initial negative reviews

Upon its release in 1980, “The Shining” faced a mixed critical reception. While many critics praised the film’s technical craftsmanship, particularly Stanley Kubrick’s meticulous direction and Jack Nicholson’s unforgettable performance, others condemned it as overly long and lacking in coherent storytelling. Negative reviews often criticized the film’s deviations from Stephen King’s original novel, highlighting its ambiguous and open-ended conclusion as a weakness.

Growing appreciation and recognition as a horror classic

Over time, “The Shining” has garnered a growing appreciation and is now regarded as a classic in the horror genre. The film’s claustrophobic atmosphere, haunting imagery, and psychological exploration of descent into madness have cemented its place in film history. The iconic imagery of a blood-filled elevator and Nicholson’s chilling portrayal of the increasingly unhinged Jack Torrance have become synonymous with horror cinema. Despite the initial critical reservations, “The Shining” has withstood the test of time, earning its place as one of Kubrick’s most acclaimed works.

Examination of the critical misjudgment and its causes

The critical misjudgment of “The Shining” can be attributed to a variety of reasons. Firstly, the film’s departure from the source material may have disappointed some critics who were expecting a more faithful adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. Kubrick’s distinct directorial choices, such as the deliberate pacing and abstract narrative elements, may have also alienated viewers seeking a more straightforward horror experience. Additionally, the film’s ambiguous ending and open-ended symbolism may have left some critics perplexed and searching for more concrete answers, leading to negative reviews initially.

Vertigo: From Flop to Masterpiece

Poor critical and commercial reception

Upon its initial release in 1958, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” received mixed critical reviews and was a commercial disappointment. Despite the film’s innovative camera techniques, complex narrative, and exploration of psychological themes, some critics found it convoluted, slow-paced, and lacking in suspense. The film struggled to find an audience and failed to resonate with mainstream viewers, resulting in its initial classification as a box office flop.

Reevaluation and inclusion in greatest films lists

In the years following its release, “Vertigo” underwent a significant reevaluation and is now widely regarded as one of Hitchcock’s masterpieces. The film’s exploration of obsession, identity, and the blurred lines between reality and illusion resonated with later audiences and critics. Its intricate narrative and visual symbolism, including the iconic spiral motif, have become touchstones of Hitchcock’s directorial genius. “Vertigo” has since topped numerous lists of the greatest films ever made, solidifying its place in cinematic history.

Analysis of the critics’ misjudgment

The critical misjudgment of “Vertigo” may be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the film’s intricate narrative, with its twists and turns, may have confused some critics who were seeking a more straightforward thriller. Hitchcock’s exploration of the protagonist’s psychological state and the film’s complex themes likely required multiple viewings and deeper analysis to fully appreciate. Furthermore, the film’s slow pacing and deliberate build-up may have clashed with the expectations of some audiences at the time, resulting in negative reviews. Ultimately, “Vertigo” serves as a prime example of a film that was ahead of its time and required a reappraisal to be recognized as the masterpiece it is today.

The Big Lebowski: A Cult Classic in the Making

Mixed reviews and box office disappointment

Upon its release in 1998, “The Big Lebowski” received mixed reviews from critics and was a box office disappointment. While some critics praised its quirky humor, memorable characters, and the Coen brothers’ distinct directorial style, others found the film meandering and lacking in substance. The film’s unconventional narrative structure and offbeat humor may have alienated some viewers seeking a more traditional comedy or crime film.

Cult following and critical reassessment

Despite its initial lukewarm reception, “The Big Lebowski” began to develop a devoted cult following in the years following its release. The film’s unique blend of comedy, film noir elements, and satirical commentary on American culture resonated with a segment of audiences that embraced its idiosyncrasies. Subsequent viewings and word-of-mouth recommendations helped propel the film’s reputation, leading to critical reassessment and recognition of its cult classic status.

Understanding the critics’ misjudgment

The critical misjudgment of “The Big Lebowski” can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the film’s unconventional narrative structure, characterized by seemingly tangential subplots and absurdist humor, may have confounded some critics seeking a more traditional storytelling approach. Additionally, the film’s humor, which relies heavily on obscure references and deadpan delivery, may not have immediately resonated with all viewers or critics upon first viewing. The distinctive nature of “The Big Lebowski” required a certain level of investment and repeated viewings to fully appreciate its comedic brilliance and underlying commentary.

Casablanca: A Surprise Success

Initial lukewarm reviews

When “Casablanca” was first released in 1942, it received relatively lukewarm reviews from critics. While some praised the performances of its lead actors, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and recognized the film’s effective blend of romance and wartime intrigue, others found it formulaic and lacking in depth. The film’s initial critical reception positioned it as just another wartime melodrama rather than the timeless classic it has become.

Elevation to a timeless classic

Over time, “Casablanca” has achieved a status as one of cinema’s most beloved and iconic films. Its timeless story of love, sacrifice, and political intrigue resonated with audiences across generations. The film’s memorable dialogue, passionate performances, and evocative setting have solidified its place in film history. “Casablanca” is often lauded for its transcendent themes, such as the conflict between love and duty, and its ability to transport viewers to a bygone era.

Exploring the critics’ misjudgment

The initial misjudgment of “Casablanca” by critics may be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the film’s wartime setting may have positioned it among a vast array of similar stories being produced at the time, making it harder for some critics to distinguish its unique qualities. Additionally, the film’s straightforward narrative structure, adhering to traditional Hollywood conventions, may have led some critics to overlook its artistry and depth. “Casablanca” ultimately overcame its initial critical reception to become a beloved classic, proving that a film’s true value can sometimes transcend immediate critical consensus.

Singing in the Rain: A Miscalculated Musical

Initial critical dismissal

Upon its release in 1952, “Singing in the Rain” was met with mixed critical reviews. While many critics appreciated the film’s musical numbers, energetic performances, and lighthearted humor, others dismissed it as a mere showcase for song and dance numbers, lacking substance. Some felt that the film’s plot and characters were overshadowed by the production numbers and failed to engage them on a deeper level.

Resurgence in popularity and legacy as a musical

In the years following its release, “Singing in the Rain” experienced a resurgence in popularity and is now widely regarded as one of the greatest musicals ever made. Its infectious musical numbers, including the iconic title song performed by Gene Kelly, have become cultural touchstones. The film’s nostalgic celebration of Hollywood’s transition from silent films to talkies, as well as its witty script and charming performances, have solidified its place in musical history. “Singing in the Rain” is often cited as a prime example of the joyful and timeless nature of the classic Hollywood musical.

Analyzing the critical misjudgment

The critical misjudgment of “Singing in the Rain” can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the film’s emphasis on song and dance numbers may have led some critics to dismiss it as a simple spectacle rather than a substantive narrative. The film’s lighthearted tone and cheerful atmosphere may have also contributed to the perception of it being a lightweight musical entertainment. However, subsequent viewings and a reassessment of the film’s wit, charm, and technical achievements have resulted in its elevated status as a classic musical.


Reflection on the role of critics in shaping the narrative of films

The examples of misjudgment in the film review industry highlight the influence and power critics hold in shaping the narrative surrounding movies. Critics play a significant role in shaping the perception of a film, both immediately upon its release and in the years to come. Their opinions can influence public opinion, box office performance, and even impact the legacy of a film in the long run.

Lessons to be learned from these famous cases of misjudgment

These famous cases of misjudgment provide valuable insights for both film critics and audiences. They remind us of the subjective nature of film criticism and the potential for a film’s true brilliance to be initially misunderstood or underappreciated. As audience members, it is essential to approach films with an open mind and allow our own opinions to form, rather than solely relying on the consensus of critics. For film critics, these examples serve as a reminder to approach each film with a fresh perspective, acknowledging the potential for our own biases or preconceptions to influence our judgment.

In conclusion, the film review industry is a complex landscape where critics play a vital role in shaping the public’s perception of movies. The impact of reviews on box office success and the influence of critics on the film industry cannot be overstated. However, it is also important to recognize that critics are fallible and can sometimes misjudge the true value and significance of a film. The cases of misjudgment discussed in this article serve as reminders of the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the film review industry, reinforcing the need for critical thinking and open-mindedness when engaging with films and their reviews.

About the author

Latest posts