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Big screen classics

The Magnificent Ambersons

Orson Welles’ elegiac masterpiece charts the decline of a Midwestern dynasty with wit, wisdom and cinematic brilliance.

Image from The Magnificent Ambersons

USA 1942
Dir Orson Welles
With Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Agnes Moorehead, Tim Holt
88min
35mm
Certificate U

Though mutilated by RKO, Welles’ faithful but supremely imaginative adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s marvellous novel remains a masterpiece, chronicling the gradual decline of a wealthy and once powerful Midwestern dynasty with wry wit, sobering wisdom and unsentimental compassion. From the gently teasing opening to the lacerating late, single-take scene in an unheated kitchen, the film is packed with unforgettably brilliant moments.

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