IMDb > The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
The Magnificent Ambersons
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The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Booth Tarkington (from the novel by)
Orson Welles (script writer)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Magnificent Ambersons on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 July 1942 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
From the Man who Made "The Best Picture of 1941" See more »
Plot:
The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Fractured Magnificence; one of the great tragedies of cinema (not the film per say, but its history) See more (102 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Joseph Cotten ... Eugene Morgan

Dolores Costello ... Isabel Amberson Minafer

Anne Baxter ... Lucy Morgan

Tim Holt ... George Minafer

Agnes Moorehead ... Fanny Minafer

Ray Collins ... Jack Amberson
Erskine Sanford ... Roger Bronson
Richard Bennett ... Major Amberson

Orson Welles ... Narrator (voice)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Edwin August ... Citizen (uncredited)
Georgia Backus ... Matron (uncredited)
Harry A. Bailey ... Citizen (uncredited)
Olive Ball ... Mary - Maid (uncredited)
Jack Baxley ... Reverend Smith (uncredited)
William Blees ... Young Man at Accident (uncredited)
Lyle Clement ... Citizen (uncredited)
Bobby Cooper ... George Minafer as a Boy (uncredited)
Don Dillaway ... Wilbur Minafer (uncredited)
Heenan Elliott ... Workman (uncredited)
John Elliott ... Guest (uncredited)
William Elmer ... Servant (uncredited)
James Fawcett ... Citizen (uncredited)
Mel Ford ... Fred Kinney (uncredited)
Nancy Gates ... Girl (uncredited)
Nina Guilbert ... Guest (uncredited)
Maynard Holmes ... Citizen (uncredited)
Edward Howard ... Chauffeur (uncredited)
Harry Humphrey ... Citizen (uncredited)
Elmer Jerome ... Attendee at Funeral (uncredited)
J. Louis Johnson ... Sam - Butler (uncredited)
Lew Kelly ... Citizen (uncredited)
Del Lawrence ... Citizen (uncredited)
Bert LeBaron ... Citizen (uncredited)
John McGuire ... Young Man (uncredited)
Philip Morris ... Policeman (uncredited)
Anne O'Neal ... Mrs. Foster (uncredited)
Gil Perkins ... Citizen (uncredited)
Charles R. Phipps ... Uncle John (uncredited)
Hilda Plowright ... Nurse (uncredited)
Drew Roddy ... Elijah (uncredited)
Henry Roquemore ... Hardware Man (uncredited)
Jack Santoro ... Barber (uncredited)
Gus Schilling ... Drug Clerk (uncredited)
Kathryn Sheldon ... Matron (uncredited)
Sada Simmons ... Wife (uncredited)
Dorothy Vaughan ... Mrs. Johnson (uncredited)
James Westerfield ... Policeman at Accident (uncredited)
Joe Whitehead ... Citizen (uncredited)

Directed by
Orson Welles 
Fred Fleck (additional sequences) (uncredited)
Robert Wise (additional sequences) (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
Booth Tarkington (from the novel by)

Orson Welles (script writer)

Joseph Cotten  additional scenes (uncredited)
Jack Moss  additional scenes (uncredited)

Produced by
Jack Moss .... associate producer (uncredited)
George Schaefer .... executive producer (uncredited)
Orson Welles .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Bernard Herrmann (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Stanley Cortez (photographer)
Jack MacKenzie (uncredited)
Orson Welles (uncredited)
 
Film Editing by
Robert Wise (film editor)
Jack Moss (uncredited)
Mark Robson (uncredited)
 
Production Design by
Albert S. D'Agostino (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Albert S. D'Agostino (uncredited)
 
Set Decoration by
Darrell Silvera (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Mel Berns .... makeup department head (uncredited)
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Maurice Seiderman .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Fred Fleck .... assistant director (uncredited)
Harry Mancke .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
A. Roland Fields .... set dresser (as Al Fields)
Mark-Lee Kirk .... set designer
Chesley Bonestell .... background paintings (uncredited)
Charles Sayers .... props (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Bailey Fesler .... sound recordist
James G. Stewart .... sound recordist
Terry Kellum .... sound (uncredited)
Earl B. Mounce .... sound (uncredited)
James Thompson .... boom operator (uncredited)
John E. Tribby .... sound (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Vernon L. Walker .... special effects
 
Visual Effects by
Clifford Stine .... process photography (uncredited)
 
Stunts
James Fawcett .... stunts (uncredited)
David Sharpe .... stunt double: Tim Holt (uncredited)
Helen Thurston .... stunt double: Anne Baxter (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Russell A. Cully .... photographer: additional scenes (uncredited)
William Eglinton .... camera department head (uncredited)
Eddie Garvin .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Ralph Hoge .... grip (uncredited)
Alexander Kahle .... still photographer (uncredited)
Bill McLellan .... gaffer (uncredited)
Russell Metty .... additional photographer (uncredited)
Russell Metty .... photographer: additional scenes (uncredited)
Earl Miller .... electrician (uncredited)
Nicholas Musuraca .... photographer: additional scenes (uncredited)
Howard Schwartz .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Bert Shipman .... camera operator (uncredited)
Phil Stern .... still photographer (uncredited)
Harry J. Wild .... photographer: additional scenes (uncredited)
 
Casting Department
Rufus Le Maire .... casting: Hollywood (uncredited)
Robert Palmer .... casting: Hollywood (uncredited)
Arthur Willy .... casting: New York (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Edward Stevenson .... designer: ladies' wardrobe
Claire Cramer .... wardrobe department head (uncredited)
Earl Leas .... wardrobe: men (uncredited)
Margaret Van Horn .... wardrobe: women (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Mark Robson .... assistant editor (uncredited)
I.J. Wilkinson .... negative cutter (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Dave Dreyer .... music department head (uncredited)
Bernard Herrmann .... conductor (uncredited)
Bernard Herrmann .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Louis Kaufman .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Roy Webb .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Elroy G. Cline .... transportation captain (uncredited)
 
Other crew
William Alland .... assistant: Mr. Welles (uncredited)
John Barada .... ranch manager (uncredited)
Leda Bauer .... script reader: New York (uncredited)
Howard Benedict .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Herbert Drake .... publicist (uncredited)
H. Emolieff .... film export manager (uncredited)
Fred Fleck .... unit business manager (uncredited)
Winifred Hablam .... production notes (uncredited)
John Hamilton .... first aid (uncredited)
Ross Hastings .... production attorney (uncredited)
G.B. Hobe .... production treasurer (uncredited)
Amalia Kent .... script supervisor (uncredited)
J.B. McDonough .... business manager (uncredited)
Elizabeth McGaffey .... research department head (uncredited)
Ivy R. McLean .... public relations (uncredited)
L. Messenger .... script reader: Hollywood (uncredited)
Howard Nelson .... maintenance (uncredited)
J.J. Nolan .... office manager (uncredited)
Roy S. Otto .... dailies projectionist (uncredited)
Sid Rogell .... backlot manager (uncredited)
Ann Rogers .... secretary: Mr. Welles (uncredited)
Louis Shapiro .... location manager (uncredited)
Richard Wilson .... assistant: Orson Welles (uncredited)
H. Winnicar .... studio teacher (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
88 min | 148 min (original cut) | 131 min (preview)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
There is some debate over how much Robert Wise and Jack Moss fought to preserve Orson Welles's vision. Wise has always said that cutting the film was a painful process dictated by economic necessity and changing times (the nation was going to war, and audiences would have little time or patience for the thoughtful, lengthy film Welles originally made), but Welles considered him a traitor and never spoke to him again. Future director Cy Endfield, who was working for the Mercury Theatre at the time, has said that Moss deliberately ignored Welles's telegrams and phone calls.See more »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: 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...
See more »
Soundtrack:
The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte CarloSee more »

FAQ

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
Fractured Magnificence; one of the great tragedies of cinema (not the film per say, but its history), 23 July 2005
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

It's almost common knowledge in the realm of the film world about the history of the Magnificent Ambersons, which leaves a minor problem when trying to criticize it. Orson Welles made the film's final running length at around two hours and fifteen minutes. While he was out of the country filming 'It's All True!' (another doomed film in the Welles cannon), RKO pictures, the studio that had granted Welles total freedom for Citizen Kane and a few future projects, cut out fifty minutes (mostly of the last fifty), put a happy ending, and released it on a double-bill with a B movie. Although it's attributable in retrospect to the War starting up (after all, who wants a -downer- period piece) and to the difficulty the studio had with Welles' reputation, the fact that the 90 minute version that now exists is the only version available is a tragedy in and of itself. Unless if someone follows the wild rumor that a print was dumped by the studios into the ocean and pulls it up, this is all we can get.

Still, incomplete Welles is more satisfying than no Welles, or most other studio product of the period. Welles takes Booth Tarkington's novel (inspired in part by Welles himself as a child- George being Welles' name) and makes it into a sumptuous, striking, and altogether unique drama of the changing of the times, and how people cope with changes or go with them. The story is one of those involving the minds and hearts of the upper class. Joseph Cotten (as usual charming &/or cool, dramatic) is Eugene, the man who wanted Isabel Amberson's hand in marriage. She married another man, and their child George was early on a hard-head case (these scenes are some of the best of the film, with deliberate staging of close-ups, medium shots, and basically setting up the technical style of the Wellesian cinema). As he grows up, he's still a little hard-headed (played in one of the top, intense performances in any Welles film by Tim Holt), as he is against the changing of the times, in particular of Eugene's re-founded courtship of the mother following his father's death. There is also the character of his Aunt Fanny, in another perfect performance from Agnes Moorhead (the mother from Citizen Kane).

Alongside this examination of a family's downfall amid the changing of personal relations, and of George's own complex emotional problems, and of George's coming-of-age, there's also the examination of the transition from the horse and buggy to automobiles, to the heavier boost of the industrial age. Welles as a narrator is somber, observant of it all, and mostly leaves the film to his actors. There's some real thought put into the issues, and not just through the realistic (though of course theatrical) dialog, but more specifically through the style. 'Kane' introduced audiences to Welles knack at long-takes, deep focus, unusual and expressionistic close-ups, heightening the drama that unfolds. 'Ambersons' is no exception, and there are some very memorable scenes where the camera just stays on people, and then when it moves it makes the mis en scene more concentrated, direct. The use of light is also equally impressive at times- like in interior shots of a staircase when George and Fanny are in an argument, it's all encompassing, and not distracting enough from the story. The best consistency of any Welles film, even when it has some flaws, is the control that can be seen through much of it (there's also a very spooky shot that stays with me towards the end, as the camera pans across the town's buildings, Welles' mournful narration over it).

But then we come to the ending, where things come to a screeching halt. I'm not against happy endings, they can be almost mandatory in certain formulas in films. However, it sort of takes an excellent film dealing with strong, novelistic issues to a bad place when things are resolved in the way this film does- George gets in an accident, he loses the use of his legs. But then a scene comes (and one can tell the immediate change in the style from Welles to the studio's) where loose ends get made, and without anything leaving curious for the viewer. I'm still not sure if anything else within the film was cut-out too, or if even I might have been fooled at another time by something not of Welles in the picture. It's depressing to be sure, but at least there is enough left to analyze and contemplate in the Welles' oeuvre- in some ways it goes more ambitious than 'Kane', at least in its period realm, the questions it raises. The lessons the history behind the scenes gives for future filmmakers and studios should be remembered, even as mediocrity (like RKO tried its best to make this film as) continues today in Hollywood.

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This is the worst movie I've seen in many years. HomerDPoe
Isabel, a question - SPOILER ALERT mdonln
The point of the movie Rizzyay
If Welles had played George tcsung
Wilbur Minafer NewtonFigg
What was that music? ecapital46
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