Re-rating this a 5 after seeing a gorgeous print at the Metrograph. The Magnificent Ambersons is so notorious as a butchered, incomplete film that we shouldn't forget to appreciate that what remains on screen is still brilliant. One of the most beautiful films about the passing of time, and how the world will move out from under you no matter how stubbornly you try to stay in place.
An additional viewing has made me appreciate the film on a brand new level, as I decided to ignore that which could have been and embrace the masterpiece in front of me. Even the short ending is kinda forgivable .With Citizen Kane, Welles was a child who was giddy with excitement for the possibilities of cinema, but with this film he learned to use his tools more sparingly and effectively and thus became a master.
After Citizen Kane, this is probably Welles' finest film. However, I can't help but feel sad since there were glimpses throughout the film of a film that had the potential to be better then Kane, as Welles had initially thought the film to be, but all hope was destroyed because of studio interference. This is a prime example as to why the director NEEDS final cut on their films!
I saw the 131 minute cut and am quite underwhelmed, though I infer the outlines of what Welles was attempting (the wiki summary of studio cuts helps in giving a more definite shape). Regardless of this it's flawless as cinematography and mise-en-scene.
I do adore Welles style, it is so beautiful and elegant and swift. However I felt some of the performances in this film were pretty bad, but still, a beautiful looking film, fabulously directed, it does somewhat feel a bit 'unfinished' though (surprise surprise). 4/5
The kind of filmic beast that, no matter how much you wound it, won't fucking die. Its truncation is, yes, sad but it doesn't matter since we still have one of the greatest films ever about the subjectivity of time.
A tingle runs down the spine when one is in the presence of great cinema. THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, Orson Welles' follow-up to CITIZEN KANE, is filled with such moments, even in its truncated studio version. A grim portrait of an aristocratic family in decline at the turn of the century, Welles uses his arsenal of whip smart writing and innovative cinematography to deliver something of a lost masterpiece.