Picks and Pans Review: The Magnificent Ambersons

UPDATED 01/14/2002 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/14/2002 at 01:00 AM EST

A&E (Sun., Jan. 13, 8 p.m. ET)

Consider this more of a reclamation project than a remake. RKO Pictures did such violence to Orson Welles's 1942 version—cutting it to 88 minutes, changing the ending—that a new screen adaptation of Booth Tarkington's 1918 novel seems necessary and long overdue.

Working from Welles's script and the book itself, director Alfonso Arau (Like Water for Chocolate) has fashioned a handsome but oddly uninvolving film that drags somewhat at three hours minus commercials. Bruce Greenwood radiates decency as Eugene, the automaker who returns to his Midwest hometown and reconnects with his old love Isabel (Madeleine Stowe), daughter of wealthy Major Amberson (James Cromwell). But Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Velvet Goldmine) offers a mannered, relentlessly high-pitched portrayal of George, widowed Isabel's spoiled son. Why is Eugene's charming daughter Lucy (Gretchen Mol) attracted to this creep? It may take another remake to answer that.

Bottom Line: Worth trying but not magnificent

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters