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The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  10 July 1942 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 14,499 users  
Reviews: 97 user | 67 critic

The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved.

Directors:

, (uncredited) , 1 more credit »

Writers:

(from the novel by), (script writer), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Jack
Erskine Sanford ...
Roger Bronson
Richard Bennett ...
...
Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

The young, handsome, but somewhat wild Eugene Morgan wants to marry Isabel Amberson, daughter of a rich upper-class family, but she instead marries dull and steady Wilbur Minafer. Their only child, George, grows up a spoiled brat. Years later, Eugene comes back, now a mature widower and a successful automobile maker. After Wilbur dies, Eugene again asks Isabel to marry him, and she is receptive. But George resents the attentions paid to his mother, and he and his whacko aunt Fanny manage to sabotage the romance. A series of disasters befall the Ambersons and George, and he gets his come-uppance in the end. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Orson Welles' Mercury Production of Booth Tarkington's Great Novel See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 July 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A csodálatos Ambersonok  »

Box Office

Budget:

$850,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original cut) | (preview)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The set for the Ambersons mansion was one of the most elaborate and expensive sets ever built at the time. RKO would utilize the standing set for other films. See more »

Goofs

In scene where Lucy and George say goodbye while walking down the street, Lucy's hair is pulled behind her neck. In closeup, as she watches George leave, her hair is in ringlets hanging in front of shoulders, then reverts to original hairdo when she goes into pharmacy. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: The magnificence of the Ambersons began in 1873. Their splendor lasted throughout all the years that saw their midland town spread and darken into a city. In that town, in those days, all the women who wore silk or velvet knew all the other women who wore silk or velvet, and everybody knew everybody else's family horse and carriage. The only public conveyance was the streetcar. A lady could whistle to it from an upstairs window, and the car would halt at once and wait for her, ...
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Crazy Credits

All of the credits except the RKO logo, the film's title and the copyright notice are recited orally (by Orson Welles) at the end of the film, not written out onscreen. As Welles recites the names of the production crew, we see such items as a motion picture camera when he says "Director of Photography", a pair of hands turning knobs as he says the words "Sound Recording By", etc. See more »


Soundtracks

The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo
(1892) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Fred Gilbert
Sung a cappella by Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter,
Tim Holt, Agnes Moorehead and Ray Collins
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"A plague on both your houses"
2 February 2008 | by (Xanadu) – See all my reviews

Without having a great deal of experience as a movie director and devoid of the magnificent Toland, MA is in my opinion the movie that completely establishes Welles in the greatest directors category. It is almost impossible for me to fathom the amount of labor Welles took upon himself in this period of his life, engaging in an unheard of before million dollar project, facing critical reviews for Kane and moving to South Amercia to film for FDR a project that will also be doomed.

MA is more coherent than Kane, the direction is more consistent with the prevalence of the long takes as the first motor of story-telling. Having already acquired enough technical skills on Kane, Welles embarks on a project that gives more character depth analyzing much in the manner of Ford's Stagecoach or The Long Voyage Home a cast of characters in a series of changes (only Welles takes up the idea of the aging cast from Kane). There is no lead in the movie; though Cotten is credited first the intrigue revolves mostly around the stubborn Georgie (Holt). Much of the conflict is already configured after less than half an hour of film. Actually, up to the iris in the snow I think the movie is simply perfect, pure Welles gold. I could't imagine that part of the movie any other way than it is, that is...perfect.

The cinematography is great especially because the lights had to fit the long takes. The realism that Welles envisaged with the lighting scheme in Kane is more suited here, I think, because we don't get the same fractured view of reality that appears in Kane (and subsequent Welles films that rely heavily on editing). Though Kane had some wonderful long takes they were more of a display of the virtuoso director and his cinematographer with not so much coherence overall. MA first introduces Welles' capacity to comment on his own movies with camera movement, that will lead him to Mr. Arkadin and Touch of Evil. When you have a sophisticated long take presenting the ball room and its magnificence that long take is a way of commenting on that magnificence. It's like saying: hey, those guys went through heaven and hell to make this ball so great and I will show you this by a very clever and complex use of camera movement! Though long takes were previously used by Hitchcock in Rebecca and by Welles' favorite director Renoir with different purposes, Welles clearly has his own motives for using them and a personal style to go along.

Beautiful movie, not as great as Kane, Touch of Evil, The Trial or Chimes at Midnight but powerful and revealing a maturing Welles. A movie like this shows us that Welles not only did not fall down after Kane but was getting even better...!


9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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This is the worst movie I've seen in many years. HomerDPoe
An overrated movie SusanJL
Breaking News! Official WB DVD release of 'Ambersons' coming! Chalupa_Batman
Has anyone watched the new release yet? Chalupa_Batman
Revisitng continuousmonsterdrip
Ending ... I'm losing ,my hearing .... What happened LesterFester
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