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The Magnificent Ambersons

Film/Video

Image courtesy of Warner Bros
The Magnificent Ambersons
Orson Welles, 1942
Tue, Jan 18, 2011 7 PM
"If Flaubert reread Don Quixote every year, why can't we see The Magnificent Ambersons whenever possible?"—François Truffaut (as quoted by Peter Bogdanovich)

How else could we start the series than with that most lionized of filmmakers, Orson Welles? While his debut Citizen Kane is usually ranked as the greatest film of all time, Welles's second film, The Magnificent Ambersons (made when he was all of 27-years-old), remains one of the most strikingly beautiful and technically innovative films to ever come out of Hollywood. A tale charting the decline of a family and the end of an era, the film was famously taken out of Welles's hands and an hour of footage (still unrecovered) was cut from the film, while the rest was re-edited and the ending was rewritten and re-shot by others. Despite this tinkering, and a tacked-on sentimental ending, the film remains a tremendously moving masterpiece and one of the highpoints of Welles's career. For similarly confounding reasons, Ambersons has never been released on DVD, so don’t miss this rare occasion to luxuriate in Welles's lustrous filmmaking on screen. (88 mins., 35mm)