Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Magnificent Ambersons

It's always impossible to follow up the project many call your best work. (Why else do you think Harper Lee never wrote anything else after To Kill a Mockingbird?) It must be a daunting task for anyone.

Although Citizen Kane wasn't the essential film back in 1941 as it is today, it still made Orson Welles a maverick in Hollywood albeit a very controversial one. How on earth would Welles follow up his veiled attack on William Randolph Hearst?

How about The Magnificent Ambersons, a film about the shift in society? Even though it got altered without Welles' consent, the film is a stark portrait of changing times and constricted morals. And like Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons is a film that was quite ahead of its time.

Also like Welles' previous film, the way The Magnificent Ambersons was shot is stunning. Much like what Gregg Toland did with Citizen Kane, Stanley Cortez frames The Magnificent Ambersons gorgeously. (Take note, Tom Hooper. This is how you frame a film.)

The Magnificent Ambersons is a very well done film. The actors, particularly Tim Holt and Agnes Moorehead, are great. In my eyes, this is Welles' best film as a director. (I'm sure there are other people out there that agree with me.)

My Rating: *****

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I'll agree with you. It's just that the last 20 minutes is so often the work of someone else—I've read Welles continuity script for the last 45 minutes to an hour as it was originally intended and it is devastating. The one we have? Well, to say it ends confusedly is a kindness. This one offered a great tragedy on-screen and ended up being one itself.


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