Criterion Press Release: The Magnificent Ambersons (Blu-ray)

3 Stars
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Orson Welles’s beautiful, nostalgia-suffused second feature—the subject of one of cinema’s greatest missing-footage tragedies—harks back to turn-of-the-twentieth-century Indianapolis, chronicling the inexorable decline of the fortunes of an affluent family. Adapted from an acclaimed Booth Tarkington novel and characterized by restlessly inventive camera work and powerful performances from a cast including Joseph Cotten, Tim Holt, and Agnes Moorehead, the film traces the rifts deepening within the Amberson clan—at the same time as the forces of progress begin to transform the city they once ruled. Though RKO excised over forty minutes of footage, now lost to history, and added an incongruously upbeat ending, The Magnificent Ambersons is an emotionally rich family saga and a masterful elegy for a bygone chapter of American life.

FILM INFO

  • Orson Welles
  • United States
  • 1942
  • 88 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.37:1
  • English
  • Spine #952SPECIAL FEATURES
    • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
    • Two audio commentaries, featuring film scholars Robert Carringer and James Naremore and critic Jonathan Rosenbaum
    • New interviews with scholars Simon Callow and Joseph McBride
    • New video essay on the film’s cinematographers by scholar François Thomas
    • New video essay on the film’s score by scholar Christopher Husted
    • Welles on The Dick Cavett Show in 1970
    • Segment from Pampered Youth, a 1925 silent adaptation of The Magnificent Ambersons
    • Audio from a 1979 AFI symposium on Welles
    • Two Mercury Theatre radio plays: Seventeen (1938), an adaptation of another Booth Tarkington novel by Welles, and The Magnificent Ambersons (1939)
    • Trailer
    • PLUS: An essay by critic Molly Haskell and (Blu-ray only) essays by authors and critics Luc Sante, Geoffrey O’Brien, Farran Smith Nehme, and Jonathan Lethem, and excerpts from an unfinished 1982 memoir by Welles

    New cover by Eric Skillman

    November 20, 2018

Published by

Kevin Collins

administrator

17 Comments

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  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Oh, to have a time machine and pay a visit to Rio de Janeiro in December of '44…

    Even without the machine, if I had the time and money, I'd take a current time visit to Rio as is.:)

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