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Alfonso Arau's handsome The Magnificent Ambersons, based on Orson Welles's original screenplay, is a brave attempt to restore the dramatic scenes lost when RKO radically recut Welles's magnificent 1941 masterpiece, but it's less a remake than a new take on the material. Bruce Greenwood makes a gracious and sincere Eugene Morgan, the inventor who woos heiress Isabel Amberson (a vibrant Madeleine Stowe) and finds his rival is her spoiled, arrogant son, George (played with sneering, bug-eyed intensity by Jonathan Rhys Meyers). It hits a few sour notes (notably Meyers and a terribly miscast Jennifer Tilly as the jealous Aunt Fanny), but the "new" scenes explore the sprawl of the city, the falling fortunes of the Amberson dynasty, and the almost incestuous intimacy between mother and son only hinted at in Welles's compromised version. It may lack the grand design and cinematic grace of Welles, but it creates its own gentle take on Booth Tarkington's turbulent novel

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AAE18254 Magnificent Ambersons VHS (2001/complete Welles' script) $24.95 $5.99