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43 Magnificent Ambersons, The 
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Post Re: 43 Magnificent Ambersons, The
After reading the recent fracas between Rob and Ragna, I have to admit that Rob might actually have a bit of a point. We have let ourselves slip a little. Or, at the very least, there's nothing stopping us from holding ourselves to a higher standard. So to do something about it, or at least expurgate my own guilt a little bit, I think I'll make comments on some of the "great movies." Feel free to ignore these, but I'd love to get into a bit of a discussion about some of these.

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) ***1/2

First of all, this is not a great movie. The idea that this movie represents the 42nd best film ever made by a human being is laughable. The reason this movie is so acclaimed lies almost entirely with the cult of Orson Welles. The cult of Orson Welles, if you don't know, goes something like this.

Orson Welles was a great man. Also, he was very handsome.
Orson Welles was destroyed by a world that wasn't ready for his genius.
In retrospect, everything Orson Welles made was brilliant.

Now there actually is a lot of truth to all three statements in the Cult of Orson Welles manifesto. However, the slavish devotion of the cult members push movies like Touch of Evil, The Lady from Shanghai, and (especially) MagAmbs into a pantheon that they manifestly don't deserve to be in. After all, what could be a better film to testify to the cult than one which was directly affected by a meddling studio executive?

With all that said, however, this is still a very good movie until its truncated ending. It's a very American story (by that I mean it has a distinct rise and fall flavor) with exceptional photography and involving material. It's not nearly as memorable as Citizen Kane, and the chopped up ending really sucks, but it's a darn fine movie if you can find it on VHS. It's just not the 43rd best movie of all time, unless of course you're a cultist.

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Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:35 pm
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Post Re: 43 Magnificent Ambersons, The
Hmmm, JamesKunz and I are supposed to disagree on everything. I haven't got to the thread of The Night of the Hunter yet, but maybe he posted there and I can pick a fight with him. Anyway, The Magnificent Ambersons is not one of the best movies ever made. I'd love to hear a case defending the film, because all I see is a good movie that is ruined by the tacked on ending. Honestly, the best part of the film was hearing Orson Welles' voice in the voiceover at the beginning, which is a tactic I usually don't enjoy. There's just something about the way he says the phrase, "the magnificence of the Ambersons."

Does anyone else find it interesting and kind of odd that Orson Welles was so concerned with telling stories about the rise and fall of great men and families at the beginning of his career, only to have his own career follow such a similar path? That's incredibly fascinating to me.


Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:18 am
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