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The Magnificent Ambersons

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Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Tim Holt, Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello
Director: Orson Welles
Plot Synopsis:

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.

  • Technical Specs
    Length:88 Minutes
    Specs:Blu-ray
    Video Resolution/Codec:1080p/AVC MPEG-4
    Aspect Ratio(s):1.37:1
    Audio Formats:English LPCM Mono
    Special Features:Two audio commentaries, featuring film scholars Robert Carringer and James Naremore and critic Jonathan RosenbaumNew interviews with scholars Simon Callow and Joseph McBrideNew video essay on the film’s cinematographers by scholar François ThomasNew video essay on the film’s score by scholar Christopher HustedWelles on The Dick Cavett Show in 1970Segment from Pampered Youth, a 1925 silent adaptation of The Magnificent AmbersonsAudio from a 1979 AFI symposium on WellesTwo Mercury Theatre radio plays: Seventeen (1938), an adaptation of another Booth Tarkington novel by Welles, and The Magnificent Ambersons (1939)TrailerPLUS: 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

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