Ralph Breaks the Internet
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
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All Critics (35)
| Top Critics (12)
| Fresh (31)
| Rotten (4)
| DVD (2)
Even in this truncated form it's amazing and memorable.
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.
The butchering of The Magnificent Ambersons is indefensible, yet Welles critics have been making excuses for it for years.
The bold cinematic techniques Welles employed in Citizen Kane are put to even more sophisticated use here.
The performances, the cinematography, the melancholy tone of loss make [The Magnificent Ambersons] one of the most technically inspired films of Hollywood's past.
Visually creative classic.
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.
Orson Welles was reportedly furious when this film was cut to smithereens by his studio, and his editor, Robert Wise, while he was elsewhere, filming in South America. He believed that this could have been better than "Citizen Kane," his magnum opus. While it's hard to be conclusive in that assessment, I can say that this film is just as big and concrete as his first. This film too looks at the lives of people through many years, and shows their transformations from idle youths to confident adults. The Amberson family members are comprised of a group of fascinating individuals who each want things they apparently can't have. The Industrial Revolution's evolution of technology leads to the family's undoing, as their neighbor's wealth grows and theirs' dwindles. Their matriarch and patriarch fall, the aunt and nephew often struggle against each other on escalating levels of cruelty, and relationships suffer for it. It's a beautiful film that obviously could have been much bigger, much darker in its take on the family. Sadly the original rough cut of the film was destroyed by the studio, probably to keep megalomaniac Welles from putting his film back together. This is an amazing addition to Welles' canon and is beautiful in both scope and story.
That staircase. After watching The Magnificent Ambersons, I'm still struck by the staircase of the Amberson mansion. Director Orson Welles somehow gives the impression the staircase winds up story after story, hundreds of feet into the rafters, and without a window to be found. The Ambersons live in this mansion of nitemares, all shadows and endless, winding stairs. The Ambersons are a family of great Shakespearean tragedy. Eugene (Joseph Cotten) and Isabel (Dolores Costello) are sweethearts until Eugene embarrasses himself (when coming to serenade Isabel, he accidentally trips and smashes his bass fiddle) and becomes the laughing stock of the town. Isabel can't settle for any imperfection as she's the daughter of a very important family. She chooses security over love, and marries a plain but well off businessman. When their child comes, he's spoiled horribly, and grows into an even more obnoxious adult. Meanwhile, Eugene has returned to his hometown a successful car manufacturer, recently widowed and with a beautiful daughter. Isabel's son, George (Tim Holt) falls in love with Eugene's daughter, or at least what passes for love in someone so self-absorbed and egotistical. Eugene and Isabel strike up where they left off, much to the envy of the jealous Aunt Fanny (Agnes Moorehead). Fanny schemes to convince George to intervene in the newly re-burgeoning relationship between Eugene and his mother, and the results are tragic for all involved. Aunt Fanny and George are a pair of lost souls, George especially is filled with impudence yet doesn't really understand why things happen around him the way they do, only that they don't happen the way he wishes. Visually, there aren't alot of films as stunning and on as many different levels as this. It's a unique vision and just about as daring a film (visually) as has ever been made. Welles original edit of the film has been lost and bastardized through the years, and the film's final tone of forgiveness rings somewhat at odds with the rest of the film's general feel. However unfortunate this situation may be, it matters little when every frame of the Magnificent Ambersons is a work of art in it's own right.
I'd love to Welles' actual version of this, becuase this pretty boring.
I enjoyed it a little bit more than Kane.
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