In The Magnificent Ambersons, Orson Welles devotes 9,000 feet of film to a spoiled brat who grows up as a spoiled, spiteful young man. This film hasn’t a single moment of contrast; it piles on and on a tale of woe, but without once striking at least a true chord of sentimentality. [Novel by Booth Tarkington.]
The central character is Tim Holt, who is portrayed first as the spoiled, curly-haired darling of the town’s richest family, and then for the major portion as a conceited, power-conscious, insufferable youth.
Welles comes up with a few more tricks in the direction of the dialog. He plays heavily on the dramatic impact of a whisper, and on the threatened or actual hysterics of a frustrated woman as played by Agnes Moorehead.
1942: Nominations: Best Picture, Supp. Actress (Agnes Moorehead), B&W Cinematography, B&W Art Direction