The Magnificent Ambersons

Following the success of Citizen Kane, Welles embarked upon one of the most famously disastrous productions of the 1940s. The Magnificent Ambersons tells the story of a wealthy family unable to adapt to the changing times in the years following the Industrial Revolution. Despite the fact that he lost control of the editing of the film (which had a full hour of footage cut by the studio) when he left to shoot his ill-fated Latin American film It’s All True, The Magnificent Ambersons—narrated by Welles and starring regular collaborators Joseph Cotten and Agnes Moorehead—remains one of the classics of the Hollywood studio era and one of Welles’ greatest creations, featuring his trademark deep focus shooting and bravura ensemble direction.

Genres: Drama

Other Films by Orson Welles

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The Immortal Story

Welles’ first color film—significant considering the development of scores of color processes since the 1920s—tells the story of Clay (Welles), a wealthy but aging Macao merchant, who, upon hearing a story in which a young sailor is paid to impregnate an elderly man’s wife, decides to recreate the legend for himself. The problem: he’s unmarried.

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F for Fake

F for Fake, a pseudo-documentary revolving around the shadowy world of art forgery, sees Welles at his most globe-trotting and literally magical. Beginning as a kind of portrait of notorious forger Elmyr De Hory, the film quickly spirals away from any linear narrative, instead becoming a loose tapestry of forgers and fakers, not least of

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Chimes at Midnight AKA Fallstaff

His third “finished” Shakespeare adaptation, Chimes at Midnight, sees Welles dulling his edges a bit in offering up a highly poetic vision of Falstaff, a recurring character in the Bard’s works. Falstaff, the rotund sidekick of the devious Prince Hal (Keith Baxter), plays audience proxy as the Prince ascends to the throne following the defeat

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The Trial

Welles translates one of Franz Kafka’s best-known literary works into a disorienting black-and-white cinematic world of crime and punishment. After relatively anonymous bank officer Josef K. (Anthony Perkins) is spontaneously arrested and charged with an unnamed crime, he struggles in vain to discover exactly what it is he has done. While Kafka’s novel is famed

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Confidential Report AKA Mr. Aradkin

Bearing key similarities to The Third Man, Welles’ noir concerns small-time smuggler Guy Van Stratten (Robert Arden), who overhears a dying man whisper the name “Gregory Arkadin.” Armed with this clue and in search of blackmail money, Van Stratten works his way into the inner circle of well-to-do amnesiac Arkadin. Arkadin hires Van Stratten to