Blu-ray, DVD Release: The Magnificent Ambersons

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Nov. 27, 2018
Price: DVD $17.97, Blu-ray $22.97
Studio: Criterion

The Magnificent Ambersons, Orson Welles’s beautiful, nostalgia-suffused 1942 second feature—the subject of one of cinema’s greatest missing-footage tragedies—harks back to turn-of-the-twentieth-century Indianapolis, chronicling the inexorable decline of the fortunes of an affluent family.

Adapted from the acclaimed Booth Tarkington novel and characterized by restlessly inventive camera work and powerful performances from a cast including Joseph Cotten (Since You Went Away), Tim Holt (My Darling Clementine), and Agnes Moorehead (Who’s Minding the Store?), the film traces the rifts deepening within the Amberson clan-at the same time as the forces of progress begin to transform the city they once ruled.

Though RKO excised over forty minutes of footage, now lost to history, and added an incongruously upbeat ending, The Magnificent Ambersons is an emotionally rich family saga and a masterful elegy for a bygone chapter of American life.

Criterion’s new editions of the Welles classic drama include the following:

* New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* Two audio commentaries, featuring film scholars Robert Carringer and James Naremore and critic Jonathan Rosenbaum
* New interviews with scholars Simon Callow and Joseph McBride
* New video essay on the film’s cinematographers by scholar François Thomas
* New video essay on the film’s score by scholar Christopher Husted
* Welles on The Dick Cavett Show in 1970
* Segment from Pampered Youth, a 1925 silent adaptation of The Magnificent Ambersons
* Audio from a 1979 AFI symposium on Welles
* Two Mercury Theatre radio plays: Seventeen (1938), an adaptation of another Booth Tarkington novel by Welles, and The Magnificent Ambersons (1939)
* Trailer
*An essay by critic Molly Haskell and (Blu-ray only) essays by authors and critics Luc Sante, Geoffrey O’Brien, Farran Smith Nehme, and Jonathan Lethem, and excerpts from an unfinished 1982 memoir by Welles

Buy or Rent The Magnificent Ambersons

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.