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The Magnificent Ambersons : Complete Uncut Edition : With Bonus Orson Welles Biography

3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Alfonso Arau's handsome The Magnificent Ambersons, based on Orson Welles's original screenplay, is a brave attempt to restore the dramatic scenes lost when RKO radically recut Welles's magnificent 1941 masterpiece, but it's less a remake than a new take on the material. Bruce Greenwood makes a gracious and sincere Eugene Morgan, the inventor who woos heiress Isabel Amberson (a vibrant Madeleine Stowe) and finds his rival is her spoiled, arrogant son, George (played with sneering, bug-eyed intensity by Jonathan Rhys Meyers). It hits a few sour notes (notably Meyers and a terribly miscast Jennifer Tilly as the jealous Aunt Fanny), but the "new" scenes explore the sprawl of the city, the falling fortunes of the Amberson dynasty, and the almost incestuous intimacy between mother and son only hinted at in Welles's compromised version. It may lack the grand design and cinematic grace of Welles, but it creates its own gentle take on Booth Tarkington's turbulent novel

Product Details

  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004D8LZE0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,741 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Richard on December 28, 2011
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To begin with, I am sure you understand, that this is of course not the Orson Welles original. My problem with this movie is that it is advertised on the cover art of the DVD jewel case, as well as on Amazon, as 150 minute length movie. It is not 150 minutes. There is no 150 minute version of the A&E movie and yet, on every DVD jewel case it is printed as 150 minutes.

This movie was originally telecast in 2002 as a 3-hour event movie. If you factor in the usual 22 minutes/hour of commercials, you end up with a total length movie 132 minutes. Which is precisely the length of this DVD or any other A&E DVD of this movie out there. Trust me, I know. I have been thru each and every available DVD of this movie looking for the so-called uncut version before I finally figured it out. Why A&E continues to advertise this as 150 minutes is unknown to me.

Coincidently, Orson Welles originally assembled his movie to be exactly 132 minutes. But the RKO Studio cut it down to something like 88 minutes much to his forever dissatisfaction. From what I understand, this A&E production was meant to mirror that original Welles 132 minute from an available script. (Welles original 132 minute movie is lost and he considered it to be even better than his Citizen Kane). So it appears that when Amazon and/or A&E advertise this as the Complete Uncut Edition, what they really mean is that it is not a remake of the original 88 minute Welles film but a remake of the original Wells 132 minute assembled film that may be lost to the ages.

Finally, I've written this so that you might buy the other copy of this A&E movie on Amazon which costs less but is the same exact movie. Perhaps you can save a few bucks as I didn't.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Deems on June 24, 2012
Everyone is a fine performer in this remake of the much-lamented second film of Orson Welles. Sadly, most are hopelessly miscast in their roles, powerless to convince us that they believe in anything they say or do. The compelling and musical dialogue of Booth Tarkington sounds mawkish and shallow in their mouths. Combine this with lifeless direction (scenes limp along without building intensity) and uninspired scene and costume designs (things look expensive without creating a powerful sense of time or place), and you get an experience whose primary value is in making us appreciate all the more the genius of Orson Welles. We are told that the lost scenes from Welles's version were incorporated into this screenplay -- and indeed, this version is a great deal longer. Those who know both the novel and the Welles film will know how painful it is to reflect on what was lost when the studio butchered the film. Sadly, the restored story elements here don't make for fuller characters or a more intelligible plot -- they only try our patience. The Welles version, even in its eviscerated form, is a deft translation from novel to film, a work of profound beauty, superior to this one in every way.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Patrick J. Furlong on November 29, 2011
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I carelessly assumed from the prominent reference to Orson Welles that this was his 1941 film of "The Magnificent Ambersons." Unfortunately this A & E television version is a travesty of Booth Tarkington's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. It features beautiful color, inappropriate settings, poor costuming, and some remarkably bad acting. My graduate Liberal Arts students greatly preferred an aged videotape of Orson Welles's masterpiece (which for some strange reason is not available in DVD).
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