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The Magnificent Ambersons (2012)

Georgia Backus , Anne Baxter , Orson Welles  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

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The Magnificent Ambersons + Touch of Evil (Widescreen Edition) + Citizen Kane (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Georgia Backus, Anne Baxter, Richard Bennett, William Blees, Ray Collins
  • Directors: Orson Welles
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JKGX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,092 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Magnificent Ambersons" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The magnificent Orson Welles directed this brilliant, moving portrayal of an aristocratic American family in what many critics consider a masterpiece equal to Citizen Kane. Based on a novel by Booth Tarkington, the drama begins in the 1870s when the Amberson family is at the height of its wealth and prestige. But the day arrives when all the Ambersons are stunned by the truth of their financial ruin. As Aunt Fanny, Agnes Moorehead received Best Actress honors from the New York Film Critics Circle.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy The Film Even More By Doing A Little Research! January 26, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
For those truly interested in what Welles' original version of "The Magnificent Ambersons" would have been like, I strongly recommend Robert Carringer's "The Magnificent Ambersons: A Reconstruction" and Peter Bogdanovich's "This Is Orson Welles". Both books provide considerable detail regarding the significant re-editing and re-shooting which took place on this film. What remains in the released version of Welles' second film is astonishing, but much of the story's logic was lost in the re-cutting, as was important character motivation. Exactly why did the Ambersons lose their fortune? What propelled George to rebuff Eugene? Welles' original version answered these questions and presented an incredible vision of a world overrun by industry. The destruction of this original version of the movie is simply the greatest injustice done to American cinema. Alas, we can still marvel at the film's beautiful performances, the gorgeous "snow ride" scene, the astonishingly realistic "kitchen" scenes and Welles' incredible narration. By all means, watch this movie, but do some reading about what it was meant to be and then use your imagination to see the greatest American movie ever made.
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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magnificent Magnificent Ambersons February 13, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Orson Welles's adaptation of Booth Tarkington's award-willing novel and follow-up to Citizen Kane is a true screen classic. As with Kane, this film contains many wonderful performances by all the leads including Joseph Cotton, Agnes Moorehead, Dolores Costello, and Tim Holt as George Amberson Minafer. Welles continued his experimentation with film technique and you will notice similar camera angles and lighting, to those in Kane. The lighting is something exploited to good affect here, especially in the scenes inside the Amberson mansion. The story is a simple one: Eugene Morgan (Cotton) and Isabel Amberson (Costello) young lovers, who through a somewhat frivolous circumstance end up marrying other people. After they've both raised children, they again find themselves free to begin where they left off in their youth. But Isabel's son (Holt) does not approve of their relationship, in spite of the fact that he is in love with Morgan's daughter, Lucy (Anne Baxter). Set at the turn of the 20th century, the movie has a wonderful feel and texture, which effectively evokes the period. An interesting backdrop is the development of the automobile, with Cotton an early proponent and tycoon, and its effects on not only the American economy, but on the changes it brings to society as well. Morgan, once spurned as a little too common for Isabel returns again to his hometown a successful industrialist. As his fortunes climb, those of the Ambersons fall. As already mentioned, the film is packed with wonderful performances. Agnes Moorehead was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and won the Best Actress award from the New York Film Critics Circle. As the lonely, sorrowful Aunt Fanny, hers is a delicately crafted characterization. Read more ›
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant followup to "Kane" October 18, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
What a travesty it is that as of this writing, Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons" is not available on DVD, while the far inferior 2002 remake is. Welles' managed to follow up his landmark debut "Citizen Kane" with another masterpiece, despite studio meddling which reduced the film's length by 43 minutes.
Eschewing "Kane's" fragmented structure, "Ambersons" employs a linear narrative to chronicle the rise and fall of the Amberson family, who become an allegory for pre-industrialized America. Though the film undeniably laments the passing of the simpler, 19th century way of life (most effectively in a nostalgic prelude narrated by Welles himself), the conflict between past and progress is complicated by the impudence of George Minafer (Tim Holt), scion of the Ambersons, and the amiability of Joseph Cotten as the inventor whose automobiles contribute to the decline of the Ambersons' magnificence. "Ambersons" is characterized by masterfully choreographed long takes, which allow Welles to extract thematic content from the material through sheer compositional virtuosity. "The Magnificent Ambersons" remains a powerful experience despite the loss of several key scenes; RKO chopped Welles' diamond, but could not obscure its brilliance.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SHAME ON WARNER BROTHERS!!! February 15, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It is impossible to assign an accurate star rating to this product. The actual movie - although butchered by a pack of money-mad pirates prior to the film's initial release back in 1942 - was most probably as magnificent as its title indirectly suggests. What remains of Welles' original vision is still magnificent. The dastardly doings of meddlers who cut here and there with all the perverse glee of cinematic Jack the Rippers and the replacement footage shot by hacks for an idiotic restructuring of the original film go far in compromising the impact and power of what was most assuredly in the original version. All of RKO's inept attempts to make the film a better one have merely ruined a masterpiece. What happened is somewhat akin to far lesser artists cutting apart Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" and rearranging the apostles and even leaving a few out of the picture all together. So, in its original form, AMBERSONS would most likely have garnered a full five stars. Compromised by morons and strictly viewed as just a movie...three stars seems more honest.

Sadly, on these boards we commentators cannot accord votes to a product's various elements. I wish that such a system were enacted by Amazon, as too often folks have to explain why a certain something only gets a few stars - with the reason often being that the stars are for the quality of the item and not the quality of what the item is presenting. In this case - after having waited years for THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS to finally become available on DVD - what does Warner Brothers do to make this moment memorable? Pitifully, hardly a thing! No commentary whatsoever - even though the story of the plight of this ruined masterwork is a tale that must be told!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars an Orson Welles fan necessity
Purchased as a gift for an Orson Welles fan. He enjoyed it.
Published 20 days ago by seton67
5.0 out of 5 stars Bluray please
Great movie, second only to Citizen Kane.
Published 1 month ago by Justin Hill
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic film
Too bad we'll never really see Mr. Welles' true vision for this film as it was mangled by producers and studios (like so many of his films), but still an enjoyable experience.
Published 3 months ago by matthew l nagunst
5.0 out of 5 stars Wells did some very fine work here
Full and fair disclosure: I am an Orson Wells fan and recently purchased five of his films. I also love classic American cinema. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Charles from Redondo Beach
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed reading the book and then watching the movie
It is an older movie but having just read the book for a reading group, I found the movie followed the novel very closely. Enjoyed reading the book and then watching the movie.
Published 4 months ago by Mary Bishop
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambersons a "magnificent" film production
This movie was very difficult for a number of years to find, let alone purchase. Is this Orson's "swan song" as a movie director? Perhaps. Read more
Published 5 months ago by R. Swain
2.0 out of 5 stars The Magnificient Ambersons - Dvd with George Backus
I didn't really care for this movie. I didn't find it cheery at all and I didn't like the ending. I like happy endings. I wouldn't recommend it to a friend to buy.
Published 5 months ago by Ralph Everingham
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and Comeuppance
This was during the time of stars and co-stars. This movie has many stars who could have easily gotten top billing in this film. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Gregory Lucas
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie
This is a wonderful movie. Wonderful cast. Wonderful story. This movie will make you mad, sad, and glad. I recommend this seller.
Published 6 months ago by ELWOODWORTH
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh How The Mighty Have Fallen
The story, the acting, the cinematography... all top notch. I was surprised at how much it held my attention. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Love To Read
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Topic From this Discussion
Warner to release on DVD in 2008.
Oh yeah, then where is it?
Jun 5, 2009 by Gary Byron |  See all 5 posts
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