Orson Welles’ follow-up to Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons is widely regarded as just as fabulous a film as its predecessor. The film was actually truncated from Welles’ original cut into an 88 minute version, with an additional happier ending tacked on against Welles’ wishes, but even with these kinks, the film still achieves much and comes off very well in its presentation.
All the Wellesian touches of cinema are here and in full force; the oblique angles, the extensive use of closeups and long focus shots, the fluid and intricate choreography and production design, and the chiaroscuro lighting; everything that made Citizen Kane the great film that it was, but this time with a different type of story. The tale this time is of two budding romances amidst an individual’s class discrimination, all filmed in the stark unforgiving style that Welles perfects with free artistic control.
The sophomore slump is a non-existent phenomenon in Welles’ world, and thankfully the man shares his world with the rest of us blokes. Thankfully, however, for my reviewing, there remains only one more Welles film on the list for me to do, as I feel like I am merely repeating myself whenever I review one of his films, as they are so similar in style and direction. Nevertheless, he has earned his spot on my list of favorite directors, and this film is an excellent example of what made him so great.
Arbitrary Rating: 9/10