Orson Welles’ follow up to Citizen Kane, he adapted the story, directed, and narrated it (including the closing credits). RKO, wanting a conventional money-maker, re-edited the film while Orson was in Brazil. They shot a new, happier ending and removed about fifty minutes. I would like to have seen the more somber version but maybe not at the cost of another hour of my life. At 88 minutes, I didn’t find myself needing to watch more.
Like Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons is a visually impressive film. With interesting use of shadow, and layered mise en scene, it’s photography feels like a refined version of the previous film. But because of how dull the story is, I had to remind myself to pay attention. In the third act is an impressive long take where atrocious George is saying goodbye forever to pretty Lucy while she pretends not to care. At about two minutes fifty, it's an amazing shot and Anne Baxter was amazing in it. And there are other aspects to the story worth exploring, but it simply wasn't that interesting.
I needed to watch the film a second time to fully understand what's going on, but I don’t find myself wanting to. Very mannered and cinemagraphic, but something of a bore. AMRU 3.
“Well, that’s a horse on me.”