The Magnificent Ambersons. 1942. USA. Directed by Orson Welles. Screenplay by Welles, based on the novel by Booth Tarkington. With Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter. 35mm. 88 min.
Welles’s compromised masterpiece follows several generations of the Ambersons, the most affluent family in Indianapolis—still a small town at the start of the 20th century. The penniless Eugene Morgan courts Isabel Amberson despite his station, but Isabel ultimately rejects Eugene and marries Wilbur Minafer, a man equal in social standing but with a heart of ice. Isabel and Wilbur have a son, George, who is so spoiled that the townspeople giddily await his comeuppance. Welles eventually lost control of his film, which was heavily edited by the studio.