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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)
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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

The re-cutting of this film caused a deep rift in Orson Welles' friendships with Robert Wise and Joseph Cotten. Cotten later wrote several letters of apology to Welles, and the two later reconciled. Welles and Wise, however, remained on acrimonious terms for some 42 years until Wise was invited to come to the stage by Gilbert Cates when the Directors Guild of America honored Welles with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984. The former rivals ended up shaking hands as the crowd rewarded them with a standing ovation. 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

Referenced in American Experience: The Battle Over Citizen Kane (1996) 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

 
The Most Beautful American Movie Ever Made
26 February 2005 | by (NY, NY) – See all my reviews

If one could have a single wish regarding movie history, surely it would be the rediscovery of the nearly one hour cut out of what seem to be all existing prints of this! Even with the tampering, it is a gorgeous movie. To me, it is superior to "Citizen Kane." Wells himself was partially at fault for its being butchered: Had he stayed in the United States and not pursued a new, eventually unfulfilled dream, he surely could have fought RKO.

The narration by Welles at the beginning is like the dream storytelling of any child or young person. The words so beautiful, the tones so calm and mellifluous! And the final credits, in which he reads the crew and then the cast, are astonishingly moving.

In between is a touching story that is acted and filmed with rare integrity. Dolores Costello is a haunting presence. Agnes Moorhead, as the Neurotic aunt, gives a performance rarely equaled in movie history.

Stanley Cortez was cinematographer for three great movies (and many other fine ones): "The Magnificent Ambersons," "Night of the Hunter," and "The Naked Kiss." Each relies strongly on its look and Cortez created three very different, memorable canvases.

One fan hope against hope that the lost footage turns up in someone's basement, unlikely as that is. Even so, once seen this movie is never forgotten.


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