Magnificent Ambersons

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"Real life screened more daringly than it’s ever been before!"
  • NR
  • 1942
  • 1 hr 28 min
  • 7.6  (26,134)
  • 93

The 1942 movie Magnificent Ambersons, directed by Orson Welles and starring Tim Holt, Joseph Cotten, and Dolores Costello, is a classic tale of the rise and fall of a wealthy family in a changing world. Set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the film tells the story of the Amberson family, who live in a grand mansion in a prosperous Midwestern town. The patriarch of the family, George Amberson (played by Holt), is a spoiled and entitled young man who believes that his family's wealth and status will last forever.

But as the world begins to change around him, George finds himself increasingly out of touch with reality. The advent of the automobile threatens the dominance of the horse and carriage, and new technologies like the telephone and the electric light bulb begin to transform the world in ways that the Ambersons cannot comprehend.

At the heart of the film is the relationship between George and his mother, Isabel (Costello). Isabel is a loving and devoted mother who has always doted on her son, but as George becomes more and more insufferable, she finds herself increasingly frustrated and ashamed of him.

Meanwhile, Joseph Cotten plays Eugene Morgan, a former suitor of Isabel's who returns to town after many years. Eugene is an inventor and a progressive-minded man who sees the potential of the new technologies and the changing world. He also still harbors feelings for Isabel, and he quickly becomes an important figure in the lives of the Ambersons.

As the film unfolds, we see the decline of the Amberson family and the rise of Eugene and his family. George's arrogance and sense of entitlement lead to his downfall, while Eugene's humility and forward-thinking propel him to success.

Magnificent Ambersons is a stunning film, with beautiful cinematography and a thoughtful, complex storyline. The performances are outstanding, particularly the lead actors, who bring depth and nuance to their roles.

The film is also notable for its unique structure. Welles was known for his unconventional approach to filmmaking, and Magnificent Ambersons is no exception. The film features a number of innovative techniques, such as deep focus cinematography and voiceover narration, that were ahead of their time.

Unfortunately, the film also has a somewhat tragic history. Welles famously clashed with the studio over the final cut, and the version of the film that was released was heavily edited and reshaped without his input. Many of the scenes that Welles had shot were scrapped or altered, and the film was left feeling incomplete and disjointed.

Despite these issues, Magnificent Ambersons remains a classic of American cinema. It is a powerful and moving tale of a family struggling to adapt to a changing world, and the performances and cinematography are truly magnificent. Anyone interested in the history of cinema or classic American storytelling should take the time to watch this film.

Magnificent Ambersons is a 1942 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 28 minutes. It has received outstanding reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.6 and a MetaScore of 93.

Magnificent Ambersons
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 28 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.6  (26,134)
  • Metascore