Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Magnificent Ambersons (Tuesday night at 9 on Turner Classic Movies), from 1942, is an endlessly rewatchable movie even better than Orson Welles's other classic, Citizen Kane. Absurdly truncated by the studio from the way Welles originally imagined it, there's still enough potency left in this operatic saga of a spoiled American brat who falls from 19th century aristocracy to working class. His tragic mother is the great silent screen beauty, Dolores Costello, and Agnes Moorhead gives possibly her finest performance as Fanny, his bitterly hysterical spinster aunt. The scene where Georgie (Tim Holt) gorges himself on her strawberry shortcake and a glass of milk is unforgettable. The whole movie is repertory-company excellence at its most unsurpassed and the camera work is stunning. It did abysmally when it opened. Too down-beat.
— Lloyd Dykk

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