May 26

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

This is Orson Welles’ second feature film about the declining fortunes of an affluent family at the turn of the twentieth century in Indianapolis.  Adapted from the acclaimed Booth Tarkington novel, the film traces the rifts deepening within the Amberson clan—at the same time as the forces of progress begin to transform the city they once ruled. 

Available to stream free with Hulu subscription or for a small fee on iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and Amazon Prime.

Various aspects of the automobile industry play a role in the fate and fortunes of the Amberson family, and this had us thinking about the way artists in the VBMA collection have depicted the innovation and craftsmanship of this industry. Harold Brooks’ Buick (1992) presents the gleaming and sleek form of a 1952 Buick on a sunny day at a car show. The tag on the windshield tells us not to judge, but the realism with which Brooks renders the car invites a sense of nostalgia and appreciation for mid-century American manufacturing.

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In addition to streaming on the above-mentioned platforms, The Magnificent Ambersons will be available for loan from the DVD film library at the VBMA when the DVD library reopens. Become a member of the Film Society to check out films.







VBMA Film Studies Coordinator, Diane Thelen

Image credit: Harold Brooks. Buick, 1992. Watercolor on paper