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The Magnificent Ambersons

Screening on Film
Directed by Orson Welles.
With Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter.
US, 1942, 35mm, black & white, 88 min.

One of the great tragedies of film history in terms of lost footage, Orson Welles’ “compromised” adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s novel still stands as one of the towering achievements of modern cinema. The film chronicles the decline of the American Dream among members of an upper-class Midwestern family. While severely altered by the studio (RKO removed a third of Welles’ first cut, added a happy ending and destroyed the original material), the film’s powerful performances and visual dynamism remain.

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Gene Hackman crouched beside a toilet with audio equipment

From the HFA Collection...