Hi there! Yesterday I have watched “The Magnificent Ambersons” in his 88-minutes release for the first time, and I loved it (for many reasons). On IMDb, I discovered that what I had seen was a ‘lawnmower cut’ of the original film (MUBI reports a film lenght of 131 minutes, too) and also that:
“The 50 minutes that Robert Wise cut out of the original film were destroyed, ostensibly to free up vault space at RKO. There was conjecture though that this was to prevent Welles attempting to make any changes to what was left of his film.” (IMDb Trivia for “The Magnificent Ambersons”)
My question is:
Does this mean that there’s no way for me to watch the original cut?
Yes. There are rumours that an employee might have stolen the full version when it was in transit – can’t remember the details – but he certainly is biding his time if he wants to capitalise on his good fortune/bad deed. On the Home Theater Forum, Robert Harris posted something like “stay tuned for big news” regarding a new release of the film; that was last year.
If “The Magnificent Ambersons” could be restoed to its original form the history of the cinema would be altered.
One day, one day.
Dreams: Ambersons. Four Devils, The Case of Lena Smith, and Greed.
Alfonso Arau, director of Like Water for Chocolate, shot a remake according to Welles’ script for A&E, starring Madeline Stowe.
Rregan, I’d never heard of Four Devils before and got so excited about wanting to see it only to find out it’s a “lost film”. Sad. :(
Supposedly the original cut was supposed to be better than Kane, though the hacked version isn’t that far behind in my opinion. If the film is found and the version is finally restored, it would be one of the greatest moments in cinematic history.
if an employee stole the original version, i’m pretty sure it would have been released by now, at least after Orson’s death anyway.
i think this Metropolis scenario has given a lot of cinephiles false hope ;-)
The passion of Joan of Arc was found in a closet in an insane asylum, so there is always hope.
And that new Chaplin was found in a garage sale.
And there was a cache of “lost” films, including John Ford’s Upstream, apparently his first film reflecting the influence of Murnau, that was recently discovered in the New Zealand Film Archive.
unfortunately, i think this cut is gone for good. because welle’s left the country for awhile and no one had any reason to keep the final cut. there was no home video or dvd and to keep it would just be a waste of space, at the time
Wake In Fright was found in a rubbish bin somewhere in Australia apparently .hehe. not that it’s sa classic film, but it’s pretty good.
Wait, where’s the info from Robert Harris about a new release on Ambersons? Did he say anything else, or just that there was to be a new release?
There’s was a great article about this in Vanity Fair probably ten years back. Don’t know if it’s online though…
Here’s the only comment from Harris I’ve seen regarding such, which were made in July ’08:
question posted on Home Theater Forurm:
“Would you have any information regarding the current status of The Magnificent Ambersons’ restoration and DVD release?”
Harris: “Not that can be discussed.”