The Clark to Show Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons

For Immediate Release

August 02, 2013

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute will screen the 1942 film The Magnificent Ambersons on Monday, August 12 at 3 pm. The free showing is part of the Clark’s Homericana film series, which features films that complement the Clark’s current exhibitionWinslow Homer: Making Art, Making History, on view until September 8.

The film was the first director Orson Welles made after completing his magnum opus, Citizen Kane, in 1941. Welles adapted the screenplay from the novel of the same name by Booth Tarkington, which tells the sweeping tale of the decline of a once-prosperous Midwestern family. Set in early twentieth-century Indianapolis, the wealthy Amberson family must watch as the city industrializes around them, in part because of the efforts of automobile maker Eugene Morgan (played by Joseph Cotton), who once courted Isabel (Dolores Costello), the heir to the Amberson family fortune.

Welles had complete creative control over the film until the final editing stages, when RKO Studios cut the film to meet their specifications. As a result, the finished film differs significantly from Welles’s original version, and today serves as a tantalizing fragment of what might have been the director’s next masterpiece. Nevertheless, the film was still nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but lost to William Wyler’s Mrs. Miniver.

About the Clark

Set amidst 140 acres in the Berkshires, the Clark is one of the few major art museums that also serves as a leading international center for research and scholarship. The Clark presents public and education programs and organizes groundbreaking exhibitions that advance new scholarship. The Clark’s research and academic programs include an international fellowship program and conferences. Together with Williams College, the Clark sponsors one of the nation’s leading master’s programs in art history. The Clark receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open daily in July and August (open Tuesday through Sunday from September through June), 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $15 June 1 through October 31; free November through May; and free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, or call 413 458 2303. The Clark’s library is closed for renovation through September 3, 2013.


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