Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Magnificent Ambersons


This was the second film Orson Welles made in Hollywood, and the first one he didn’t control entirely. He never again had the sort of blank check he had for Citizen Kane, and spent much of his life trying to raise the money he needed for his independent projects. So the studio took control of this one when it was finished, and cut one hour from the running time! Not only that, they destroyed the deleted footage, so that it can never be reconstructed. In spite of that, what is left is pretty magnificent. Oh, how I would have loved to have seen that original cut! It’s not that this version feels abbreviated, but there is the sense of a lot going on that we never get to see. Oh, well, I’ll just cherish what we do have here, which is a defaced masterpiece.