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Magnificent Ambersons

Robert Harris

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#1 of 19 OFFLINE   nhu

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Posted July 18 2008 - 11:33 AM

Would you have any information regarding the current status of The Magnificent Ambersons' restoration and DVD release?

Thank you.

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted July 21 2008 - 08:40 AM

Not that can be discussed.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#3 of 19 OFFLINE   nhu

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Posted July 26 2008 - 03:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris
Not that can be discussed.
An intriguingly brief reply which as you might expect has become the subject of much speculation.

Thanks again.

#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Dan1

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Posted July 28 2008 - 09:39 AM

Then I guess I should hold onto my 89 minute videotaped copy of Ambersons.

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   nhu

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Posted October 06 2008 - 05:22 AM

Back in 2007 Warner said they had found "good elements" of Ambersons and would release it in 2008. Since it's now October I guess we'll hopefully see Ambersons sometime in 2009.

Warner would be wise to announce a release date for this film as soon as possible. It's not like there will be a line out the door at Best Buy to purchase it. Kane was a mass-market DVD because everyone knows about it and it has been on TV for years. Ambersons is almost a niche-market film, and the more advance notice the better for it's sales.

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx

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Posted October 08 2008 - 09:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris
Not that can be discussed.

Intriguing indeed Posted Image
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#7 of 19 OFFLINE   Dan1

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Posted October 08 2008 - 09:17 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by oscar_merkx
Intriguing indeed Posted Image

Maybe not that intriguing after all. If what we are all speculating about is true, it would be very hard to keep that kind of info out of the press. Nothing is impossible but finding the lost Ambersons footage 66 years later is pretty close to it.

(I know about the recent Metropolis find but that's different. The Ambersons footage is well documented as being destroyed sometime after 1942.)

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   David Tolsky

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Posted October 08 2008 - 10:37 AM

Dan, what recent Metropolis find are you speaking of? Something after the Kino release?

#9 of 19 OFFLINE   MatthewLouwrens

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Posted October 08 2008 - 09:25 PM

David - Did you not hear that they've found a (nearly) complete Metropolis? If not, they've found a (nearly) complete Metropolis! I think it was announced back in early July. It's a 16mm print, there's apparently one scene missing (the monk in the cathedral) as it was at a damaged reel end, but otherwise it's complete. I first heard about it in this article, and I believe it has been confirmed that next year's Blu-Ray will have this version.
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#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Dan1

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Posted October 09 2008 - 06:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatthewLouwrens
...I first heard about it in this article, and I believe it has been confirmed that next year's Blu-Ray will have this version.

Thanks for posting the link. There was also an item on a European Marx Brothers fan site a few months back about a supposed find of some lost Night at The Opera footage. That was either a rumor or a hoax because the story has never appeared in the press either in the EU or the US. Most of these "lost footage" stories end up being rumors, hoaxes or honest misinformation.

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   MatthewLouwrens

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Posted October 09 2008 - 08:24 AM

This one is confirmed - there were news reports at the time with footage from the new scenes, there were photographs, and, according to The Digital Bits, Kino have confrmed that their release next year will have the new footage. There were some HTF discussions here and here. In other words, there's no need to worry about it being a hoax.
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#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Michael Fournier

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Posted January 13 2009 - 01:47 PM

Mr. Harris,

I was wondering if you might have any news to share on the release of Ambersons since your last post to this thread.

Thank you,

Michael Fournier

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   lionel59

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Posted January 11 2010 - 02:50 AM

There is an article in the Jan 2002 issue of VANITY FAIR on THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS. I have secured a copy but have not got it yet. I believe it looks at the issue of the print that was sent to Welles in Brazil which -as far as I can gather- has never been officially found. From what I can understand it indicates the possibility of it still existing. The (excellent) Robert Carringer book THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS-A RECONSTRUCTION states that the negative trims and the preview versions (which were NOT as complete as the original cut shown to studio execs and shipped off to Welles) were destroyed. However, I have only recently learned that despite Warner Bros repeatedly stating that no complete prints of Cukor's A STAR IS BORN existed ,a one-time employee made off with a complete print. Warners reportedly knows about it (see HTF posts dealing with this) and efforts have gone forth for years to find a way for this "collector "to make this footage available. Columbia said no prints existed of the full premiere version of 1776 and the LD restoration of the '90's had to use faded sequences reportedly taken and stored by someone who worked on the project with Jack L Warner. Yet is has turned out that a complete negative is in existence and this was used for the Director's cut dvd. I cite these examples simply to give evidence that we can be told something for years re missing sequences of famous movies and then find out that we have not heard the complete truth. I have read that two top directors (one I think being my favourite of all time,William Wyler) knew of the cuts and put forth effort for an original cut of AMBERSONS to be saved in a national institute of some kind (eg  the Library of
Congress, my memory fails re the details).It is not inconceivable that somebody of William Wyler's standing could have found some way of preserving this footage in a covert manner. I personally think this film is the greatest American film of all time and - as Welles himself said- would  take precedence over CITIZEN KANE if his complete vision could be seen. (What remains -despite the bland retakes, infantile reshuffling of the final third of the narrative and horrendously false ending- is still - to employ an overused word- "awesome".) I truly hope that Mr Harris, who has my utmost respect for his work on SPARTACUS, MY FAIR LADY etc, is really"sitting on" information that fans of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS have been fantasizing about for years!
  P.S. I recently saw the trailer (which can be downloaded from TCM's website) for the first time, having just seen a 35mm print screened  with KANE at the marvellous Astor cinema in Melbourne.(Which has theatrical rights to the RKO library in this country and is collecting prints world-wide to preserve and show in the future). If you watch closely, you will see a shot from one of the ALTERNATE scenes Welles made of the scene where George discusses Eugene's letter with Isabel (mostly we have a re-written retake in the film as shown since its release) and- best of all- a close-up of Agnes Moorehead from the original "boarding-house" ending followed by a shot of Joseph Cotten standing next to her as she rocks morosely in her rocking chair. One of the original lobby cards presents a still from the boarding house sequence that I have never seen in any book and is not on the Criterion LD (http://ambersons.com/lobbycards.htm) which shows some of the extras in that (legendary) sequence. Cheers, Mike Evans (Melbourne)

#14 of 19 OFFLINE   lionel59

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Posted January 15 2010 - 01:20 AM

Update- A post-er on imdb has informed me that the 2 prints shipped to Rio of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (one a Director's cut, the other, reels containing nearly two hours of alternate takes) were reportedly -and tragically-destroyed in 1944. Pity Wyler or someone couldn't have done something to preserve them. Nonethless,Mr Harris may be sitting on some startling information for us AMBERSON devotees. Time will tell!  Mike

#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted January 18 2010 - 07:30 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by lionel59 

 I truly hope that Mr Harris, who has my utmost respect for his work on SPARTACUS, MY FAIR LADY etc, is really"sitting on" information that fans of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS have been fantasizing about for years!
I hear (mostly scurrilous) reports and rumors of rare clips being held by people who entertain the Divine Right of Collectors when it comes to unique footage in their possession. I was once personally told (at point-blank range by a prominent film collector) that actual outtakes of "The Wizard of Oz" including the long-lost "Jitterbug" sequence were being held hostage by a snobbish collector who lived in Santa Barbara, California, and that the studios had tried to pry the footage from his Scrooge-like grasp to no avail. I assume that Uncle Scrooge wants to have that footage inserted into his coffin so that the silver nitrate can decay along with him.   There is no doubt that long-lost clips suddenly pop up from time to time, but it's never worth worrying about in light of the fact that some of these crazy stories are better than the actual footage.

 

 


#16 of 19 OFFLINE   lionel59

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Posted February 17 2010 - 06:46 PM

I have recently read an excellent article on AMBERSONS from an old Vanity Fair magazine(January 2002). It mentions an American working in the film industry in Brazil in the '50's or '60's who claims he saw the full cut of AMBERSONS from a print still in the vaults in mis-labelled cans. The head of the film exchange in the '40's was apparently a man who did not destroy celluloid of value if he could avoid doing so. His daughter runs (or ran) the exchange after him. It is not impossible to conceive of him mis-informing RKO or simply destroying the reels of alternate takes etc which were shipped with the Welles cut to Brazil and protecting the print. If it is still there in those mis-labelled cans it has been held in ideal conditions (as opposed to prints discovered in warehouses, garages etc) and may be still usable. I think an expedition to Brazil is called for! Mike

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Jeff Swindoll

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Posted February 18 2010 - 04:54 AM

It wasn't that same guy who said he found London after Midnight was it...../img/vbsmilies/htf/confused.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by lionel59 

I have recently read an excellent article on AMBERSONS from an old Vanity Fair magazine(January 2002). It mentions an American working in the film industry in Brazil in the '50's or '60's who claims he saw the full cut of AMBERSONS from a print still in the vaults in mis-labelled cans.


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#18 of 19 OFFLINE   JoeDoakes

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Posted February 20 2010 - 02:12 PM

In the 2009 WHV chat, Warner was asked about The Magnificent Ambersons.  They said "AMBERSONS is still in the development stages...our plans for supplementary materials
require much more time (and money)than expected." and "AMBERSONS will have a significant exploration on the film's production history."  It does not sound as if they have a lost Brazil print. My thought at the time was that they might try to put together some kind of virtual director's cut using extant footage plus stills.  At any rate, if they announce a mystery film at the upcoming TCM Classic Film Festival, and you happen to be in Los Angeles, be sure to get your tickets.  You never know . . . .


#19 of 19 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted May 12 2011 - 12:47 PM

Sorry - wrong thread.


"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932



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