Tag: the magnificent ambersons

Empire Interview With Joshua Grossberg About Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons

by on Jun.05, 2015, under film press, The Search for the Lost Print

One of the projects I’ve been developing over the years is a documentary called The Search for the Lost Print: The Making of Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons.  It’s been an on and off process as other projects have taken priority.  Well, a reporter for Empire magazine called a few months ago and interviewed me about my long search for this “lost Picasso of film.”  For those who don’t know, the original 2 1/2 hour version of Welles second film was cut down to 88 minutes and the original negative melted down for use as nitrate during the Second World War.
 Empire Magazine article on Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons and Joshua Grossberg's search for the lost print

But there was a print of this first cut, considered a masterpiece and even better in many ways than Citizen Kane, that editor Robert Wise sent down to Welles while he was working in Brazil.  That print has since been lost.  However, during two excursions to Brazil, I came up with some interesting and promising leads with the help of late Brazilian filmmaker Rogerio Sganzerla. And before he passed away, I also had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Wise about his editing of Ambersons and the whole fiasco of the test screenings and the recutting that RKO demanded. It’s a fascinating story. And to Wise’s credit, despite the subsequent mutilation by the studio which subsequently ordered the ending reshot without Welles’ permission, the 88-minute version of Ambersons has since become a classic regardless.  But if what if we could find that lost print that showcased Welles’ original, much darker ending?

Empire Magazine article on Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons and Joshua Grossberg's search for the lost print

The making of The Magnificent Ambersons and its disastrous post-production and release has intrigued cinema lovers and haunted Welles aficionados for years. The article from Empire‘s June issue attached features my interview here on page 5 as part of a larger piece about the legend of the lost print. It was an honor to be included and many thanks to the reporter, Luke Dormehl, for doing so. Below you can scroll through the whole piece.
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