7.9/10
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110 user 74 critic

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 10 July 1942 (USA)
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)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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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:

Real life screened more daringly than it's ever been before! 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:

Der Glanz des Hauses Amberson  »

Box Office

Budget:

$850,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original cut) | (preview)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Orson Welles later described the 88-minute version of the film as having "been edited by a lawnmower". See more »

Goofs

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 »

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 »

Connections

Featured in Edge of Outside (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

String Quintet In E, Op. 13 No. 5: Minuet
(uncredited)
Music by Luigi Boccherini
Played at the Ball
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent Cast, Characters, Setting, & Story
10 July 2001 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

With an excellent cast, interesting characters and setting, and a thought-provoking story, dramatic cinema does not get much better than "The Magnificent Ambersons". No one will ever know what it would have been like if Orson Welles' original version had been allowed to stand as it was, but what is left is still extremely good despite the missing portions.

The story of the leading residents in a turn-of-the-century town combines some interesting themes. The snobbishness of the Ambersons, and its effects on their lives and others' lives, is illustrated alongside the ways that increasing industrialization is changing everyone's lives. The period setting is also quite interesting in its own right, and very nicely done. The characters are all convincing and well-defined, and are matched nicely with fine performers who bring them to life convincingly. Welles regulars Joseph Cotten and Agnes Moorehead are especially good.

The only real disappointment in the movie is that, due to all the cuts made against Welles' wishes, there are times when it is obvious that a scene or information is missing, since characters at times refer to events that are not quite familiar to the audience. It is fortunate that the acting and writing are good enough to help us fill in the blanks to some degree, but it is really too bad that we can never see the whole picture.

As it stands, this is a fine film filled with good scenes and memorable characters, and a movie that will be much appreciated by fans of classic cinema.


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