The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Average Rating: 8.5/10
Reviews Counted: 30
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Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 2
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Average Rating: 4/5
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Orson Welles' followup to Citizen Kane (1941) was utterly different from Kane in style and texture, but just as brilliant in its own way. Writer/director Welles does not appear on camera, but his voiceover narration superbly sets the stage for the movie's action, which fades in valentine fashion on Amberson Mansion, the most ostentatious dwelling in all of turn-of-century Indianapolis. Its mistress is the haughtily beautiful Isabel Amberson (Dolores Costello). When Isabel's beau, erstwhile
Jul 10, 1942 Limited
Sep 18, 2012
RKO Radio Pictures
Isabel Amberson Mina...
George Amberson Mina...
Youth at Accident
J. Louis Johnson
Sam the Butler
Cop at Accident
George as a Boy
Man at Funeral
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Ambersons is not another Citizen Kane, but it is good enough to remove Director Welles for keeps from the novice or one-picture-prodigy class.
Although reams have been written about the mutilation of Orson Welles' second feature, what remains of it is nevertheless a major accomplishment.
While telling this story, haltingly and clumsily, the movie runs from burdensome through heavy and dull to bad. It stutters and stumbles as Welles submerges Tarkington's story in a mess of radio and stage technique.
Orson Welles devotes 9,000 feet of film to a spoiled brat who grows up as a spoiled, spiteful young man. This film hasn't a single moment of contrast; it piles on and on a tale of woe, but without once striking at least a true chord of sentimentality.
The emotional sense of America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is so palpable you can taste it.
A masterpiece in every way (but ignore the awkward ending the studio tacked on without Welles's approval).
The editors might have molested it, but The Magnificent Ambersons remains on a par with Orson Welles's greatest achievements.
What remains is inevitably, irritatingly uneven, but still tender and insightful. It will cut you up.
This is Orson Welles' lost movie, one he might have been able to rescue, had he been less brash -- and a film he and others believed to be superior to Citizen Kane.
Having mastered film technique in Citizen Kane, Welles devotes more attention to the characters, all of which are all individual creations rather than types. It's a deeper, more personal work than Kane even if it lacks the latter's narrative pull.
Orson Welles' heavily chopped up drama, it is still a nostalgic, dramatically powerful tale and should ultimately be savored for what it is rather than rejected for what it is not.
A domestic drama that is every bit the equal of Welles' Citizen Kane.
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