- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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- Lynn L.
If Citizen Kane had been a commercial success for RKO, perhaps the studio would have had the patience to let Welles take their notes, compromise and edit for a final cut more in tune with his ultimate vision for the film. Instead, we are left with a film that is, by most standards, excellent, but, sadly, full of unfulfilled promise. What there is is faithful to the book. The characters are truly written and skillfully portrayed. Except for a clunky process shot at the beginning, the cinematography is good, although not up to Citizen Kane standards. The auto-carriage snow scene with the corner iris and the use of the dark staircase settings are my particular favorites. The outstanding performances, for me, are Dolores Costello as Isabelle. Her eyes and body language in the presence of Eugene speak volumes. Her death scene is amazing. Tim Holt is an unexpected pleasure as the ramrod straight, unbending Georgie, befuddled by the changes he sees but is unable and most unwilling to accept and mystified by the strong, independent, intelligent girl who is unimpressed by his Amberson lineage and refuses to be possessed. She is skillfully acted by a young Ann Baxter years before her Oscar turn in All about Eve. And the magnificent Agnes Moorehead who makes us realize how truly controlling and manipulative weak and pitiful people can be and how they believe their history of deprivation entitles them to steal happiness from others. The social history context of the book was lost, except for a short add-on close to the end. Many scenes seem pasted in, out of context, or out of sequence, I guess because of the truly horrid surgery that was performed. And, yet-- still a great film.
One of my favorite movies. Joseph Cotton is terrific and Tim Holt is unlikeable and excellent in this. Agnes Morehead is pathetic and very well played. Also one of Ray Collins best. I have seen it many times and continue to enjoy it.
I am old and have seen this film several times but I will never view it again. It couldn't have had more vapid and despicable characters in it if Booth Tarkington had tried to design them. The film leaves you depressed, not impressed. There are two actors here who vie with one another as the real stars of the film. Agnes Moorehead as Aunt Fanny and Tim Holt as her nephew, George. These two are so vile and so evil that you want to off them yourself! I know RKO edited out 40 minutes of the original film and they also shot what they deemed a "happier ending" but Orson Welles was not involved and strongly disapproved; however, those who saw the original said it was no better than the revised version. It has been revealed that audiences laughed through several scenes when this film was originally released, as the scenes are so improbable. I couldn't agree more!
The Magnificent Ambersons
Overall-4/5Lead Performers-4/5Supporting Cast-4/5Director-5/5Score-3/5Title Sequence-4/5 (for the end titles)Screenplay-4/5Cinematography-5/5Importance-4/5Recommendation for fans of the genre-4/5
The Revenge of the Horseless Carriage
I like this movie because of the way Welles told the story. Of course, I wonder how it was before it went out of his control to others in the production team. Also, I wonder how the story would've played out if it was just shot in the normal way. It probably wouldn't be as good. The actors did a fine job. I couldn't stand that George! I was very glad he got his comeuppance.
The Magnificent Ambersons
- Dashiell Barnes
Welles' personal follow-up to "Citizen Kane." Cotten delivers an performance ignored for an Academy Award, Baxter, Costello & Holt are good too & Moorehead delivers her first Oscar-nominated performance. The recreation of the era is painstakingly recreated & brought to life thanks to Oscar-nominated production design & photography. A overlooked, under-rated film from Welles' filmography. I give it a 4.5/5.
Up the Albertsons. Not so magnificient
One of the worst movies ever made. No wonder Welles fled the country while the Studio tried to save this monstrosity. Idolizing a bunch of hollow people. The son wants to become a 'yatchsman". Even for 1940, what a shallow thing to say, while all of Europe was about to swallowed up by Hilter. Cotton's daughter spent her time in the movie running around with a silly grin on her face, while her boyfriend made a complete ass of himself. Agnes Moorehead falls into poverty, not knowing what she did with the deed to the estate. What shallowness. The countyr seemed afraid to tell Welles what a bore his movie was.
DVD on 13 September
Finally, the DVD will be available from WB - and digitally remastered - on 13 Sept 2011. It is packaged with the Citizen Kane remaster.
- Henry Murray
Where is the DVD of this Masterpiece!
still no DVD?
- John Russell
I'll just add my request to those of so many others. Surely this unbelievable movie could be released on DVD some time soon? Has anyone heard anything new?
This Orson Welles Classic on DVD
- Jeffrey Kenison
I would enjoy this movie on DVD too. I like Joseph Cotten.
Still no DVD???...
- Welles Fan
While I think that 'Amberson's is not as good as 'Citizen Kane', it still deserves a quality DVD release. In 2007 Warner once announced that a DVD would be on the market in 2008. 2010 is a few days way and Ambersons is not on DVD.I wonder if the DVD will finally become available after the 'Ambersons' screening in April at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. Could it be that the long-lost missing footage has been found, and that Warner is waiting to make a big deal about it at the TCMCFF?I know it's a near impossible scenario, but we can hope.
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
- Jay Higgins
Orson Welles' first film following Citizen Kane is, as the title suggests, magnificent. The atmosphere is remarkable, the period detail is flawless, superb cinematography, editing and art direction. Stylish and way ahead of its time. Fascinating screenplay. The entire cast is great, especially Agnes Moorehead. I do think better casting would have put it in the same league as Citizen Kane.
Please put The Magnificent Ambersons on DVD
- Dustin Turnmyre
Why is one of the greatest films of all time not on DVD?? I'm pretty sure that there are a lot of people out there who would jump at the chance to have this film as part of their classics collection.Even in it's truncated form of 88 minutes it still contains some of the most amazing sets and photography (not to mention dialogue sequences) ever set to film. Warner Bros.... c'mon will ya!!
"The Magnificent Ambersons" belongs on DVD
I'm a huge fan of Orson Welles' work. In particular, I'm quite fond of "The Magnificent Amberson." The movie involves love, sacrifice, hope, despair, jealousy, and "come uppance." These elements (played out so well by a great cast), beautifully blended together in a terrific, but sad story, makes for one of Welles best films. It truly reflects real life. I actually feel sorry for George at the end of the movie. This is definitely a classic I want for my collection. PLEASE PUT THIS MOVIE ON DVD. Thanks!
- R B
In early 2007 Warner Video said that they had found 'good elements' for Ambersons and would release it in 2008, which did not happen. I think that was just p.r. on their part to make suckers think they located the complete 2+ hour print.I think we will see it on DVD eventually, but it will be a restored version of the 90-minute release. In this economy a DVD like Ambersons won't sell very well so it's understandable that Warner Video is slow to release it.
please release this movie on dvd!
- tashia Peterson
What is taking so long? the Magificent Amersons is not not some little unknown movie why is it taking so long to put this film on dvd its mainstream and it should have been on the dvd market a long time ago these studios need to get a move on if they want this movie and other classic movies to reconized and seen by other genarations to come.
Original cut is STILL lost
Please ignore the fanciful discussions below that claim the original rough cut of Ambersons has been found. The footage has NOT turned up, and the hoaxers should be ashamed of themselves.
Ambersons DVD delays.
Warner has been unable to restore the recovered 'lost' footage to the point where it is usable, using current restoration technology. The DVD will come out sometime in 2009 but will be the 89 minute version known to viewers. A documentary about the discovery of the lost footage may be included.The recovered footage is being stored in a special climate-controlled vault in Utah. Future technologies may allow it's full restoration.
Not the whole story.
'Roberto' has stumbled into some of the story. The complete TMA was placed is storage by RKO in a warehouse. The warehouse claimed that RKO never paid them despite numerous radiograms to their HQ in California. The Portuguese company that owned the warehouse confiscated the films and shipped them back to Lisbon on a Portuguese-flagged freighter. The freighter was intercepted by a German u-boat (U-564) in November, 1942. The captain Hans Fiedler let the frieghter go on it's way but took the film cans because the english writing on them made him think they had some military value. (Brazil was an ally of the US in WW2, Portugal was neutral.)TMA ends up in Germany. After WW2 the Germans send it to the Portuguese company that had shipped it from Brazil in 1942. They put it in storage and forget about it until that building was sold in 2007, and emptied out in preparation for demolition.In their attempts to locate the owners of the various items in storage, they noticed that the film cans had writing on them indicating a connection to RKO. They then of course contacted the rightful owners, Warner, and informed them without realizing the rare nature of their find. After Warner paid a token amount for all the years storage, the film was flown back to L.A. on chartered TAP air-freighter.
Ambersons film sent to Welles at his hotel the Copacabana Palace. Film did not leave Brazil after that due to customs problems. Adhemar Gonzaga did not destroy fil as directed, unclear why. So film ends up back at the Palace. Hotel finds film cans after the war and for whatever reason sends film to the Cinemateca. Sometime between 1946 and 1976(?) film probably in unauthorized private hands beacause if still at Cinemateca it would have burned in 1957 fires. It ends up at the So Paulo Cinemateque in 1976(?), cans labeled correctly but ignored by over-worked local perservation staff which assumed it was regular print of film. In 2006 their archivist contacted Warner about film cans which turned out ot be complete print in poor but salvagable condition. Film flown to US once Warner gets o.k. from Brazilan court.
DVD in 2008/09.
Warner will be releasing the 131 minute restored version of Ambersons in late 2008 or early 2009. A complete print was located in a Brazilian film archive. The print is undergoing the 4k restoration process.
One Of The 10 Best American Films Ever Made
- Rick C
Its about time this masterpiece finally saw the light of day on DVD!
A more than nostalgic remembrance
- Robert M.Lee, Jr.
The Magnificent Ambersons is a movie that is widely unknown by many people. Once viewed, it is stored in the mind like a priceless antique. Orson Welles may be known and appreciated more for Citizen Kane but the Amberson saga is equally powerful. No filmmaker understood the importance of set design more than Welles. The sets of his films provide more than arena for the actors performances, they are "actors" themselves. The opulence of the Amberson home, the stark shadowy expanses of staircases, the almost sinister aura of train depots, they all represent the mood and character of this film. Of all the films made in this country, this is a cinematic gem that stands alone. It is more than film. It is a glimpse into the human soul. Once viewed it becomes a treasured memory.
An indespensable deeply moving masterpiece
- Alan Zachary
Despite losing control of the final cut, despite the fact that it is a mere torso of Welles' vision of Booth Tarkenton's beautiful novel, the film we have here is richer, wittier and more insightful than virtually any work of art created before or since. Welles wisely relied on Tarkenton's lovely, painful language of reminiscence, matching the nostalgic words with images of fashion and transportation that bring alive a fondly-remembered, long-gone era. Even with the changes that were made to the film by the studio, the ball at the Amberson mansion, the race in the snow between the horse-drawn carriage and Eugene's automobile, and the scenes with the gossiping neighbors are among the most vivid ever committed to celluloid. With a perfect, quiet and humanely appealing performance by Joseph Cotton, a frighteningly sad one from Agnes Moorhead, supplemented by Bernard Herrmann's sensitive score, The Magnificent Ambersons is a film that must be seen, at least once if you've missed it, and many times again for the details that emerge when viewed again.