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The Magnificent Ambersons – 1942 Welles
- As you can see from the three pictures it’s a visual stunner full with depth of field stylistic cinematic benchmarks and opulent mise-en-scene
- One big question on the film remains Tim Holt’s lead performance. He’s in almost every scene and it’s not an amazing performance.
- #70 all-time on TSPDT
- A continuation of Citizen Kane’s stylistic showpiece.
- Of course it’s nearly equally famous for being mutilated by RKO. Welles is very dramatic about this and how this film isn’t nearly as good as what once was (and was destroyed)—that said- it’s a masterpiece
- A meditation on nostalgia, unrequited love (for both sets of couples) and maturation
- The opening montage (Welles does voice over) is fine but that ball entrance with the doors flying open and the wind blowing is a stunner and when the film truly starts
- Depth of field—deep focus work on luxurious mansion— not shot by Gregg Toland so don’t give me that he’s the true master
- Score by Bernard Hermann
- Heavy Oedipal study
- Welles repeatedly frames, tracks, and then reframes within the same shot—just stunning
- Show-off miniatures like the reflection of a sleigh in the water puddle
- The mise en-scene is expressionism. Shadows and cluttered frames blocking and shaping- Von Sternberg, Murnau
- Wipes and iris work in editing
- Another film on the collapse of a once great family – just as Kane was the fall of a once great man (and nostalgia for his beloved Rosebud)
- The narrative is superb- I particularly enjoy the Agnes Moorehead performance and character narrative as it gives the film such depth. She’s a complex character
- The pans in the background of the kitchen scene between Moorehead and Holt (couldn’t find a nice enough pic to post) is an example of this. It’s just not two people talking at the kitchen table. It’s art.
- Twin long dolly tracking shots of Baxter and Holt moving. One in a carriage and the other walking
- Again, it’s a tough watch in some respects as the narrative hitches you to this loathsome and grating character (holt)
- Impressive work with shadows. A triumph here.
- Great tracking shot through room and door of Moorehead as she cracks up with guilt
- Truncated optimistic ending
- Robert Wise the editor