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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Butchered by the studio - but still a Masterpiece
This film is almost as fresh and original as Citizen Kane but for different reasons. It's darker and more lingering, and Stanley Cortez's deep contrast black and white photography is breathtaking. The oppressive sets are shot from low angles often with minimal camera movement and should be viewed in 4:3 aspect to appreciate their carefully controlled composition. Many of...
Published on 30 Sep 2007 by Peter Manning

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53 of 64 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, crappy transfer
I am an Orson Welles fan, so I was looking forward to finally getting this on DVD. There are Spanish, etc versions out there, some pricey, but I thought that an offical Universal studios release was great. I have a multi format player just for this reason. It still has not been released here in the states.

As for the quality: sub par, low contrast and...
Published on 4 Jun 2006 by Michael A Anderson


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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Butchered by the studio - but still a Masterpiece, 30 Sep 2007
By 
Peter Manning "Urban Fox" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This film is almost as fresh and original as Citizen Kane but for different reasons. It's darker and more lingering, and Stanley Cortez's deep contrast black and white photography is breathtaking. The oppressive sets are shot from low angles often with minimal camera movement and should be viewed in 4:3 aspect to appreciate their carefully controlled composition. Many of the scenes consist of long uncut shots where the actors move in and out of shadows to assemble themselves, disperse, and come together again in an obviously carefully arranged manner that must have required hours of painstaking rehearsal. This - the very antithesis of 21st century jump cutting - is what stands out in Ambersons. It's a grand noir amalgam of theatre and photography and in some senses even ballet.

Some of the acting is a little wooden but more than made up for by Joseph Cotten and Agnes Moorhead's fine performances - to say nothing of Orson Welles' narration.

It's frustrating that RKO butchered the cut in Orson's absence and apparently destroyed the original (no director's cut here I fear). The print used here is not restored but nevertheless the transfer of picture and sound are pretty good. You would be wise to ignore the crass ending - re-shot without Welles, but it's remarkable that what's left still has the power to amaze after 65 years.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A HOLLYWOOD GREAT, 29 Mar 2008
By 
F. Pizzey (Brixham, Devon) - See all my reviews
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I don't know what one of the other (two) reviewers has been watching.....but take it from me the quality of picture/sound on this disc is impressive. I watched this again last night and the film remains one of my favourites, and all the more so for the transfer to DVD which is quite acceptable. Stunningly shot, wonderful sets, great lighting and acting that will take your breath away. Cotten and Moorehead are simply wonderful, and there are other great peformances also from an impressive cast. This disc has been available at a 'knock down' price for some time now and includes 'An Unfinished Masterpiece' which is an interview with film critic/author Bill Krohn that is well worth watching. Sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy the film, and in the absence of anything better at this stage I'd thoroughly recommend this DVD. I don't think that you will be disappointed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A butchered masterpiece but a masterpiece nevertheless, 9 Jan 2011
By 
The CinemaScope Cat - See all my reviews
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Based on the Booth Tarkington novel, Orson Welles second film (his follow up to CITIZEN KANE) follows the fall of an arrogant, upper middle class prig (Tim Holt) who sees his birthright as an excuse to ignore or dismiss anything that doesn't fit into his narrow world and the tragedy that befalls his family because of that arrogance. What's amazing about Welles' masterpiece is that, despite its mutilation by RKO and with almost an hour of Welles' footage cut and an unforgivable happy ending tacked on, it still is one of the high points of American cinema. While we'll never be able to know what we've lost, what we have is superb film making. If what we have is this good, is it possible that AMBERSONS might have triumphed KANE? With Joseph Cotten, Anne Baxter, Dolores Costello, Ray Collins, Richard Bennett and in the film's best performance, Agnes Moorehead as the spinster aunt in the kind of performance that leaves you holding your breath, like watching someone walking a tightrope. It's hard to judge which is her great scene, the second scene on the stairs or the one by the hot water heater. The delicate sombre score is by Bernard Herrmann whose scoring for the sleigh ride in the snow ranks with his very best work.

The British DVD courtesy of Universal could use some restoration work but it's more than watchable.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magnificent Orson Welles, 4 Sep 2001
This review is from: The Magnificent Ambersons [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Welles' second masterpiece after Citizen Kane, is in my opinion a far more enjoyable film. Although it may have been butchered by the studio it is still a sensational achievement. Fantastic photography and very innovative end credit sequence. Well worth a watch.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer brilliance, 8 July 2003
This review is from: The Magnificent Ambersons [VHS] (VHS Tape)
A poignant drama that is still powerful and meaningful after sixty years. The direction and photography are impeccable and the performances are completely memorable. The story as a whole is brilliant even despite the interference of studio heads. A classic in the truest sense of the word.
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53 of 64 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, crappy transfer, 4 Jun 2006
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I am an Orson Welles fan, so I was looking forward to finally getting this on DVD. There are Spanish, etc versions out there, some pricey, but I thought that an offical Universal studios release was great. I have a multi format player just for this reason. It still has not been released here in the states.

As for the quality: sub par, low contrast and blurry.

Kudos for the release, shame on you execs for giving us this print that looks like 16mm! A great film deserves better!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable evening's viewing, 27 May 2013
By 
sally tarbox (aylesbury bucks uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
I watched this immediately after finishing Tarkington's novel. It's set in turn of the century America, where unpleasant rich kid George Amberson is just leaving college, planning to live an idle life as a gentleman. Then the Morgans arrive in town - lovely daughter Lucy, whom George is set on marrying, and her father Eugene who is developing the new-fangled 'horseless carriage.'
But Eugene was once an ardent admirer of George's mother.... And George's spinster Aunt Fanny is also setting her cap at him...
The book is quite enjoyable as indeed is the movie. Watching a 1942 film now, one is immediately struck by the costumes and hairstyles looking more 1940s than of the Victorian era. Also of a somewhat stilted tone to the acting. However Agnes Moorehead as Aunt Fanny is really brilliant. And unlike many adaptations, Orson Welles keeps pretty closely to the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars please do no sell, 2 Jun 2014
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This copy of McLintock is worse than a fake film copied from a smuggled camera. This should never be on offer to anybody.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic film, 14 April 2013
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Again one of Orson Wells great films. Holds true today in it's values as it did back in the early part of the last century
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pity it isn't as should have been seen, 23 Dec 2012
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Even though its the version the studio wanted us to see it's still a wonderful piece of film Noir. Magnificent
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The Magnificent Ambersons [VHS]
The Magnificent Ambersons [VHS] by Robert Wise (VHS Tape - 1998)
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