88 minutes, U.S.A., 1942, Black and White, 35mm

Throughout Orson Welles’ career, he faced any number of problems with his films, from production difficulties to studio interference to critical mauling. Following the battles with William Randolph Hearst over Citizen Kane now found himself in conflict with RKO over the final cut off The Magnificent Ambersons after disastrous test screenings.

The story of the declining fortunes of Indianapolis family in the automobile age had some 40 minutes excised by the studio: in Welles’ own words, “they destroyed Ambersons, and it destroyed me.” A commercial flop on its release, it is now one of Welles’ most acclaimed works.

This event is part of our Films Maudits (cursed films) season running throughout August; focusing on films that have been unfairly maligned or overlooked on their original release. The term has it’s origins from a festival in 1949, curated by Jean Cocteau, amongst others, which celebrated these neglected and disregarded films.  

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