In 1942, Orson Welles made the greatest film that never existed. Coming off the critical success of Citizen Kane—a film that, despite not initially doing well at the box office, is now universally heralded as a masterpiece—he chose to adapt The Magnificent Ambersons. It follows a once-affluent Midwestern family living in the second industrial revolution of the 1870s, who are on the brink of financial ruin and obsoletion. But what might have been Welles’ true masterpiece never quite ended up seeing the light of day. When the director showed up to RKO Pictures with a dense 131-minute cut, the studio proceeded to excise 43 minutes and reshot the ending to be more uplifting. On the striking revision, Welles said, “They destroyed Ambersons and they destroyed me.”
Read more in Paste.
Contributor Paste Magazine, Film School Rejects, Consequence, Looper, & Screen Slate. First cow in the territory.