The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Our first film of this year’s 2022 series, Fractured Fairy Tales, at St Mary’s is THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, an Orson Welles film released by RKO. The AADL has both a regular single disc release and the Criterion Collection’s restored quality version and double-disc release. We watched the latter.

With the shorter notice and communication challenges, we had fewer people, but it was nice to have discussion face-to-face, without having to run the microphone around so we could hear each other.

Without jumping in too far in description here … let’s see what people have to say about it and use the comments for discussion.

5 thoughts on “The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

  1. This film really underlined the dominance of white supremacy in this American society. Pertaining to this, RKO’s rejection of Orson Welles film of Brazil’s Carnivale due to showing whites and blacks dancing is very telling as Rainey has stated.

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  2. Mon’s movie relates to Sunday’s gospel.
    As Andy (math student) mentioned comeuppance was a big part of The Magnificent Ambersons.
    Don’t take a position of honor or you may be removed.
    As Father McClain said you should instead lead a humble but active engaging life like Jesus.

    George thought his wealth was everlasting and he didn’t want a profession, didn’t want to work.

    Like in the book I am reading the plantation owners in South Carolina thought their “royal” life would continue and we’re not concerned about the people they enslaved. The central family’s 3 story mansion is now a lawyer’s office.

    Life and culture changes just like the fashion episode in the beginning of the film.
    Common theme: generational change occurs in family life, technology, …
    Faulkner in The Sound and the Fury showed this as the family was not prepared to evolve with the times.

    As is important today, we must change our habits to save the environment, the planet, the lives of the most vulnerable, etc.

    Tom’s question at the end — was he basically asking how does this film relate to being a Christian?

    Just stray thoughts right after the movie.
    Now I will think about what others have commented.

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  3. Very interesting to listen to the interview with Welles and others.
    RKO = Showmanship not genius.
    Regretful that they did not send the film down to So Amer for Welles to edit.
    Thanks Rainey for sharing info Mon night and after.

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    1. Welles’ original cut was sent to Brazil … and that’s what the documentarian and TCM are looking for, to see if they can find it. But, while Welles was in Brazil, RKO went ahead with its edits independent of any feedback Welles had. Their version took out almost 55 minutes of material. Also took a quick look at the ending of the novel by Booth Tarkington, and he ends the Ambersons’ story with a seance helping Eugene and George to reconcile. Nobody seemed to find a satisfying ending consistent with the story, particularly from the Hollywood realm. 🙂 Thanks, Ginny!

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