The Magnificent Ambersons, the Second Welles’ Masterpiece

Classic Film Aficionados

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Prologue:The Devil is in the details. It all began with the signing of the new contract by Orson Welles with RKO. With Kane came unprecedented freedoms and choices for Welles, the new agreement gave cast and script approval along with the final cut to RKO for The Magnificent Ambersons. In return Welles would receive the opportunity to regain his unique and unheard of contractual stipulations, for any future projects, if Ambersons and Journey into Fear (for the last half of The Magnificent Ambersons shooting schedule, Welles was directing Ambersons by day performing in Journey into Fear, by night) were financially successful.[i]  According to Ross Hastings (RKO legal counsel) in his missive[ii] to RKO President George Schaefer dated March 19th, 1942, once Ambersons was out of the first preview the film went to the control of the studio.

On to the film! Friday, July 10th, 1942 was…

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