In fog-dripping, barren and sometimes macabre settings, 11th-century Scottish nobleman Macbeth is led by an evil prophecy and his ruthless yet desirable wife to the treasonous act that ... See full summary »
A Navy engineer, returning to the U.S. with his wife from a conference, finds himself pursued by Nazi agents, who are out to kill him. Without a word to his wife, he flees the hotel the ... See full summary »
Dolores del Rio
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 <email@example.com>
In his first directing assignment, Robert Wise shot a few additional scenes to patch up the film's continuity. Post-production head Jack Moss also filmed some additional footage. Gone from Orson Welles's original were any hints of George's Oedipal relationship with his mother, the scenes depicting the town's transformation from 19th century gentility to modern impersonality, and the family's attempts to save themselves financially. The ball sequence, which Welles had shot in one long crane shot covering the three floors of the Amberson mansion, was re-edited to remove a long chunk of dialogue, thus destroying the effect Welles had originally created. Re-shot scenes included George and Isabel discussing Eugene's letter and deciding to go to Europe, George's keeping Eugene from seeing Isabel on her deathbed, and the end of Fanny's breakdown. In the latter, everything after the long dolly shot was re-done by Moss to cut down on Fanny's hysterics as she sits with her back against the water heater. See more »
Towards end of long tracking shot with George and Lucy in horse-drawn carriage, portion of rear end of camera car and some sort of filmmaking equipment briefly enters left side of frame. See more »
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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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 »
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...!
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