May 6th, 2012: The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Cast and Crew:   Booth Tarkington (Novel); Bernard Hermann (Score); Joseph Cotton, Anne Baxter, Tim Holt, Agnes Moorehead

What It’s About:  The decline of the prominent Amberson family spans the end of the 19th and the turn of the 20th century.

Why Watch it Today?:  Director and star Orson Welles was born today in 1915.  We’ve previously featured some of Welles best American films (Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil) as well as one of his great roles as an actor (The Third Man).  The Magnificent Ambersons was Welles’ follow-up to Citizen Kane, and he considered it an even greater film-that is until he left for Brazil to start his next movie, leaving the film in the hands of his editor Robert Wise.  Wise bowed to studio pressure, re-cutting the film and shooting and editing in additional material.  Unlike Touch of Evil, which was largely restored thanks to a memo saved by Charlton Heston, we will likely never see The Magnificent Ambersons in Welles’ original version; but even in its current form it is an excellent movie, worth seeing.

Where to Get ItYour local library

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