The Magnificent Ambersons
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The Magnificent Ambersons
Orson Welles' followup to Citizen Kane (1941) was utterly different from Kane in style and texture, but just as brilliant in its own way. Writer/director Welles does not appear on camera, but his voiceover narration superbly sets the stage for the movie's action, which fades in valentine fashion on Amberson Mansion, the most ostentatious dwelling in all of turn-of-century Indianapolis. Its mistress is the haughtily beautiful Isabel Amberson (Dolores Costello). When Isabel's beau, erstwhile inventor Eugene Morgan (Joseph Cotten), inadvertently humiliates her in public, she breaks… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Ambersons is not another Citizen Kane, but it is good enough to remove Director Welles for keeps from the novice or one-picture-prodigy class."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"Orson Welles devotes 9,000 feet of film to a spoiled brat who grows up as a spoiled, spiteful young man. This film hasn't a single moment of contrast; it piles on and on a tale of woe, but without once striking at least a true chord of sentimentality."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Visually creative classic."
‑ Michael E. Grost, Classic Film and Television
"The essence of the Ambersons and of Ambersons is mortality."
‑ Richard T. Jameson, Parallax View
"Told in a magnificently opulent cinematic style."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Although reams have been written about the mutilation of Orson Welles' second feature, what remains of it is nevertheless a major accomplishment."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"The emotional sense of America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is so palpable you can taste it."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"The editors might have molested it, but The Magnificent Ambersons remains on a par with Orson Welles's greatest achievements."
‑ , Film4
"This is Orson Welles' lost movie, one he might have been able to rescue, had he been less brash -- and a film he and others believed to be superior to Citizen Kane."
‑ Shawn Badgley, Austin Chronicle
"Not 'Citizen Kane,' but what is?"
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
"While telling this story, haltingly and clumsily, the movie runs from burdensome through heavy and dull to bad. It stutters and stumbles as Welles submerges Tarkington's story in a mess of radio and stage technique."
‑ Manny Farber, The New Republic
"A masterpiece in every way (but ignore the awkward ending the studio tacked on without Welles's approval)."
‑ Don Druker, Chicago Reader
"What remains is inevitably, irritatingly uneven, but still tender and insightful. It will cut you up."
‑ , Total Film
"Having mastered film technique in Citizen Kane, Welles devotes more attention to the characters, all of which are all individual creations rather than types. It's a deeper, more personal work than Kane even if it lacks the latter's narrative pull."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Orson Welles' heavily chopped up drama, it is still a nostalgic, dramatically powerful tale and should ultimately be savored for what it is rather than rejected for what it is not."
‑ Douglas Pratt, DVDLaser
More reviews for The Magnificent Ambersons on Rotten Tomatoes