So everyone knows that Citizen Kane is 'the best movie ever made.' It's been over fifty years since somebody first made this claim about Orson Welles' debut film, and despite the occasional argument in favor of The Godfather Part II there hasn't been much competition since. The only film where Welles got complete creative control has a new Blu-Ray edition on the way, finally, but even more exciting is the news that the Amazon Exclusive special edition set will include – for the first time on DVD – The Magnificent Ambersons, Welles' follow up to Citizen Kane that was absolutely butchered by the studio. Over 40 minutes were cut from the film, and the ending was completely reshot to incorporate a false, 'happy' ending.
And yet The Magnificent Ambersons, despite all the edits, remains an American classic, telling the tale of a well-to-do family that refuses to change with the times and receives their comeuppance, twice filled, as America becomes industrialized and class distinctions start to vanish. I know, I know… It sounds like total Dullsville, man, but the film has a gothic energy that still resonates today, and like all of Welles' films it holds up remarkably well.
There aren't many truly classic movies that have yet to have a proper Region 1 DVD release (Island of Lost Souls also comes to mind), and for years The Magnificent Ambersons was considered a Holy Grail amongst home video enthusiasts, with rumors abounding that The Criterion Collection was waiting to locate the lost footage, which was actually destroyed by the studio to preserve storage space (and which some believe may exist somewhere in Brazil… long story), but now it appears that the wait is over, and that a DVD edition can be purchased along with Citizen Kane and the excellent HBO movie RKO 281, about the making of Citizen Kane, in a new box set due out in the near future.
Pre-orders are available on Amazon, to which, once again, The Magnificent Ambersons is currently an exclusive. But the whole set's just $49.99 right now. Quite a bargain. Order it now!
Crave Online will return with more hoity-toity classic films news whenever we damn well feel like it.