The Magnificent Ambersons


Drama / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 89%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 85%
IMDb Rating 7.9 10 19,822


Downloaded 9,898 times
April 2, 2019



Agnes Moorehead as The Goose
Anne Baxter as Mouche
Joseph Cotten as Priest
Orson Welles as Virgil Renchler
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
728.99 MB
23.976 fps
88 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.39 GB
23.976 fps
88 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Don-102 10 / 10 / 10

Welles' slicing look at the downfall of a careless family parallels the film's treatment in 1942...

People may initially be thrown by the title MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS. Some may consider it a stuffy period piece before seeing it if they know only of the novel. Don't make this mistake if you have not witnessed this cinematic milestone. The title, of course, is caustic and refers to the 19th century family sarcastically. Who else but the great Orson Welles could follow up a masterwork like CITIZEN KANE with such a cynical and important drama. The "magnificence of the Ambersons" is neither grand, nor respectable. It is tragic and doomed, epitomized by young "Georgie" (played by Tim Holt), whose main ambition in life is to be a yachtsmen. He is buried under the lore of his family name and he is headed towards his well-deserved "comeuppance". The film itself, like many of Welles' great pictures, was absolutely butchered by the studio (RKO Pictures) and destroyed the credibility of the young auteur. In many ways, the mess surrounding the film's release, the tragedy and loss of the Ambersons, and the theme of modern technology "taking over" all come together to leave all parties disappointed. Disapproving moviegoers miscalculated the message, led the studio to make the cuts behind Welles' back, and placed a lot of artists in some bad situations. (For an excellent account of this truly remarkable story behind the film, read Joseph McBride's bio "Orson Welles") 50 minutes of film were burned, however, the 88 minutes left for us to see contain some incredible, even revolutionary moments. Joseph Cotten plays his consummate "2nd place" character, a man unable to have his real true love. (See THE THIRD MAN, NIAGARA) He is in love with an "Amberson" (probably the only righteous family member played by Dolores Costello) but loses out to a more "respectable" man. The essential themes of industrialism and change that will ruin the Amberson family stem from Cotten's position as an inventor. He has created the horseless carriage, or automobile, however primitive, which is continuously trashed by the hateful "Georgie". Cotten's invention is part of the growth and change that many families of the late 19th century may have ignored, only to have their lives passed over and fortunes lost. Plot elements aside, this central theme is the powerful backbone that leads to the inevitable destruction of the narrow-minded Tim Holt. The latter aspects come across on screen so memorably because of Orson Welles' continued experimentation with film. Incredible b & w photography, at first a hazy glow depicting the early prime years of the Ambersons, then a stark, dark force portraying shame and sadness, is amazing to see. Overlapping dialogue is used even better here than in KANE and Welles' narration is so omniscient and on the mark, relaying the town's thoughts on this once grand family. Long tracking shots throughout the constantly changing town go unnoticed unless seen a couple of times. When you realize the passage of time through these devices, you will be in awe. Again, there is tragedy in both the film itself and its shoddy release and treatment in 1942. If only Welles stayed in America at the time and protected THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS from the long arm of the near-sighted studio system, he may have had #'s 1 and 2 on the AFI's list of 100 Greatest American films.

Reviewed by coop-16 8 / 10 / 10

What might have been...

The fate of this almost magnificent film must rank as one of the greatest tragedies in the history of the cinema. viewing it in its present state is like looking at the Venus Di Milo, or at a beautiful Greek vase that has been shattered. One can only admire the fragments...and what gorgeous fragments they are: Major Ambersons heartbreaking meditation by the fireplace,the quarrel between Eugene Morgan and Georgie about the Automobile, Isabel's death, Agnes Moorehead's magnificent performance, the splendor of the Amberson mansion, and the ballroom scene. Perhaps someday, some powerful computer might be able to reconstruct the missing footage from stills and from Welles script...perhaps. Until that almost impossible moment, one can only envy the handful of men and women who were able to see it whole, and to understand what they were seeing.

Reviewed by nqure 8 / 10 / 10

A marvellous portrait of a by-gone era

As most reviewers have stated, Welles' film suffered at the hands of studio interference and it is to the film's credit that, despite such butchery, it still remains a marvellous piece of entertainment. The emotional story revolves around family relationships, about love denied, unrequited or made to suffer. It is also a social portrait of the failure of one family to come to terms with progress (symbolised by the motor car in the film). Tim Holt is excellent as George Minafer and I think we are meant to view him ambivalently: he is both a loveable ne'er do well as well as a spoiled egotist who puts his emotions/feelings before everyone else's. Agnes Moorehead deservedly won praise for her portrait of the plain Aunt Fanny. Her final disintegration (blackly comic when George thinks she's scalding herself at a hot boiler only to be told that there's no water due to their reduced circumstances) mirrors the descent of the Ambersons into obscurity and genteel poverty. The only memory of their faded glory is in the names they give to the new roads leading to the suburbs. As with ‘Citizen Kane', wealth does not always protect people from unhappiness. And it's interesting to note how the Amberson's huge mansion, once the social centre of town with its balls & serenades, becomes an empty derelict monument to a by-gone age. In a sense, the whole film is ambivalent. You can't stop progress as Eugene (Joseph Cotton) states in the dramatic scene where he & George clash over motor cars, but Gene is also aware that things might not necessarily change for the better. Life will become faster etc. After George receives his comeuppance, I quite liked the symbolic irony of him falling victim to a car accident. Finally, it would be nice if production companies could have the courage of their convictions and actually left capable, intelligent directors to make films without interfering with their vision. Prod companies are still obsessed with preview viewings and initial reactions to films. Yes, sometimes a film might need altering, and most studios want a decent return on their investment but it would be good if they could keep faith even if a film receives an initially hostile reaction. Many great works of art have been initially misunderstood; and great films, like great art, stand the test of time.

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