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The Magnificent Ambersons (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on March 11, 2012

I’m afraid I’m not in much of a writing mood at the moment, not really in the mood for much of anything.  This often seems to happen to me on Sundays, I get in a funk where I don’t know what to do with myself.  The day just slips away from me (Daylight Savings Time doesn’t help in that regard) and I find I haven’t done much with my time.  Putting in a movie I’ve seen before is a fairly “safe” option, I don’t have to think too much about it because I’ve already got a review on record.

For such a melancholy mood, this is a fitting selection.  Studio-imposed “happy” ending aside (I’ve given up hope of a miracle allowing us to see the film as Welles intended) it’s all about people not getting what they want.  Eugene, Isabel, Fanny, Lucy, George… all frustrated and unsatisfied in their desires, frustrated by petty differences, Freudian jealousies, the march of time, circumstance and social machinations.  The tone is gothic and somber, with characters lost and trapped amidst such lavish sets.  Truly wonderful casting — Tim Holt is such a contemptible, spoiled bastard — and absolutely stunning cinematography, with Welles and Cortez always seeking out the most interesting framing.  And like the opening newsreel in Citizen Kane, Welles tries to find the most palatable way of delivering exposition, in this case via the gossip of the townspeople.

Gah, I can’t think of anything more to say.  I hate Sundays.  Rating: Great


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