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NARRATOR: 'The magnificence of the Ambersons began in 1873.
'Their splendour lasted throughout all the years
'that saw their midland town spread and darken into a city.
'In that town in those days, all the women who wore silk or velvet
'knew all the other women who wore silk or velvet
'and everybody knew everybody else's family horse and carriage.
'The only public conveyance was the streetcar.'
'A lady could whistle to it from an upstairs window and it would wait
'while she shut the window, put on her hat and coat, went downstairs,
'found an umbrella, told the girl what to have for dinner
'and came forth from the house.
'Too slow for us nowadays
'because the faster we're carried, the less time we have to spare.'
'In earlier years, while bangs and bustles had their way with women,
'there were men of all ages to whom
'a hat meant only that tall thing, known to impudence as a stovepipe.
'But the long contagion of the Derby had arrived.
'One season the crown of his hat would be a bucket,
'the next it would be a spoon.
'Every house still kept a bootjack but high-topped boots
'gave way to shoes and gaiters which went through fashions
'that shaped them now with toes like box ends,
'now like the prows of racing shells.
'Trousers with a crease were plebian.
'It proved they'd lain on a shelf and were ready-made.
'With evening dress a gentleman wore a tan overcoat,
'so short that his black coat-tails hung five inches below it.
'But after a season or two he lengthened it to his heels
'and he passed out of his tight trousers
'into trousers like great bags.
'In those days they had time for everything.
'Time for sleigh rides
'and balls and assemblies and cotillions...
'and open house on New Year's
'and all-day picnics in the woods
'and even that prettiest of all banished customs - the serenade.
'Of a summer night, men would bring an orchestra under a girl's window
'and flute, harp, fiddle, cello, cornet and bass viol
'would release their melodies to the stars.
'Against so homespun a background,
'the magnificence of the Ambersons
'was as conspicuous as a brass band at a funeral.'
-There it is!
-The Amberson mansion!
The pride of the town!
60,000 for the woodwork alone!
Hot and cold running water.
Upstairs and down.
And stationary washstands in every bedroom.
Is Miss Amberson at home?
No, sir, Mr Morgan. Miss Amberson's not home.
No, sir. Miss Amberson ain't at home to you, Mr Morgan.
-I guess she's still mad at him.
-Major Amberson's daughter.
'Eugene Morgan's her best beau.'
'Took a bit too much to drink the other night
'and stepped clean through the bass fiddle serenade!'
'I haven't seen her since her trip abroad.'
Abel, Wilson, I don't know as I knows how to put it but she's...
She's kind of a...
'delightful-looking young lady.'
'Wilbur? Wilbur Minafer? I never thought he'd get her.
'Well, what do you know?'
Wilbur may not be any Apollo but he's a steady young businessman.
-She's sensible for such a showy girl.
To think of her taking him!
Just because a man anyone would like better went wild one night.
She minds his making a clown of himself in her front yard.
Made her think he didn't care about her.
She's probably mistaken but it's too late now.
The wedding will be a big Amberson thing.
Oysters in scooped-out blocks of ice, a band from out of town.
Wilbur will take Isabel on the carefullest wedding trip
and she'll be a good wife.
But they'll have the worst spoiled children this town will ever see.
How do you figure that, Mrs Foster?
She couldn't love Wilbur.
Well, it will all go to her children. And she'll ruin them.
NARRATOR: 'The prophetess was mistaken in a single detail.
'Wilbur and Isabel did not have children. They had only one.'
'Only one. But he's spoiled enough for a whole carload!'
'She found none to challenge her.
'George Amberson Minafer, the Major's one grandchild,
'was a princely terror.'
Hey! By...golly, I guess you think you own this town!
'There were people, grown people they were,
'who expressed themselves longingly.
'They hoped to live to see the day
'when that boy would get his comeuppance.'
Something's bound to take him down someday. I only want to be there.
Look at that girly curly! Why'd you steal your mother's old sash?!
Your sister stole it for me! She stole it off a clothesline for me!
You get your hair cut! And I haven't got any sister!
Not at home! I mean, the one that's in jail!
I dare you to get out of that trap!
I dare you to come outside the gate!
Come in here, I dare you!
Here I come!
Enough of that!
You stop that, you!
-Don't you know who I am?!
-You're a disgrace to your mother!
-You shut up!
Ow! She ought to be ashamed, a bad little boy like you!
Pull down your vest and wipe off your chin and...go to -!
'This was heard not only by myself
'but by my wife and the lady next door.'
He's an old liar.
Georgie, you mustn't say "liar".
Dear, did you say what he says you did?
Grandpa wouldn't wipe his shoe on that old storyteller.
Georgie, you mustn't.
We Ambersons wouldn't have anything to do with him.
We're not talking about that.
If he wanted to see us, he'd have to use the side door.
He doesn't seem a tactful person.
He's just riffraff.
You mustn't say so.
You must promise me never to use those bad words.
I promise not to.
Unless I get mad at somebody.
Wait till they send him away to school! Then he'll get it!
They'll knock the stuffing out of him.
'But he returned with the same stuffing.'
'When Mr George Amberson Minafer
'came home for the holidays in his sophomore year,
'nothing about him encouraged hope that he'd received his comeuppance.
'Cards were out for a ball in his honour
'and this pageant of the tenantry
'was the last of the great long-remembered dances
'that everybody talked about.'
..by that big bow window.
I s'pose that's where they'll put the Major when his time comes.
Don't look at me like that, Major!
Georgie, you look fine!
There was a time, though, in your fourth month,
that you were so puny nobody thought you'd live!
I remember you very well indeed.
This your boy, Isabel?
George, this is Mr Morgan.
I remember you very well.
You never saw me before! But from now on you will.
I hope so, too, Eugene.
In the game room. He never was much for parties, remember?
Yes. I remember.
I'll come back for a dance.
Eugene Morgan, Major Amberson.
Well, well, well.
I remember you very well indeed.
I remember you very well indeed.
You don't remember her either, Georgie. But, of course, you will.
Miss Morgan's from out of town.
Take her up to the dancing. You've done your duty here.
I'd be delighted.
What did you say your name was?
I'm glad you're back.
It's nice to be back, too, Jack.
I didn't catch his name. The queer-looking duck?
I wouldn't say that.
The other is Uncle Jack. Everybody knows him.
He looks like everyone ought to. It runs in your family.
Most everybody knows him.
Out in this part of the country.
Uncle Jack is well known. He's a Congressman.
The family always liked to have someone in Congress.
How'd they get to know you so quick?
I've been here a week.
You've been pretty busy. Most...
Most of them, I don't know why Mother invited them.
Don't you like them?
I used to be president of a club some of them were in.
But I don't care for such things now. Why did Mother invite them?
Maybe she didn't want to offend their parents.
She needn't worry about offending anybody.
It must be wonderful, Mr Amberson - Mr Minafer.
What must be wonderful?
To be so important.
Oh, that isn't... Good evening.
Anybody that is anybody ought to do as they like in their own town.
Well, how's that for a bit of freshness?!
The queer-looking duck waving at me.
He meant me.
Oh, he did? Everybody seems to mean you.
See here, are you engaged to anybody?
You know a good many people.
Papa does. He lived here before I was born.
Where do you live now?
We've lived all over.
Why do you keep moving around so? Is he a promoter?
No, he's an inventor.
Oh? What has he invented? Grandfather.
He's working on a new kind of horseless carriage.
Horseless carriage? Automobile? Well, well!
Don't you approve of them, Mr Minafer?
Oh, yes. They're all right.
You know, I'm beginning to understand.
What it means to be a real Amberson.
Papa told me something about it but I see he didn't say half enough.
Did your father say he knew us?
He wasn't boasting of it. He was quite calm.
Most girls are usually fresh.
They ought to go to a man's college. They'll learn about freshness!
Who sent you those flowers you're fussing over?
-The queer-looking duck.
I've come for that dance.
Oh, him. I suppose he's some old widower!
Yes, he is a widower. I ought to have said before. He's my father.
Oh. Well, that's a horse on me. If I'd known...
This is our dance. But I guess I won't insist on it.
George, are you enjoying the party?
Yes, Mother, very much.
Will you please excuse us? Miss Morgan?
Not for me, sir.
I see you kept your promise.
Isabel, I remember the last drink Gene ever had.
I believe if you hadn't broken that bass fiddle,
Isabel never would've taken Wilbur.
What do you think, Wilbur?
I shouldn't be surprised, so I'm glad he did.
What do you say, Isabel?
My dear, you're blushing!
Who wouldn't blush?
-The important thing is that Wilbur got her and kept her.
There's another important thing - for me.
It's the only thing that makes me forgive that bass viol.
-Well, what's that?
You having a good time?
Ever gave up smoking?
I've got some Havanas.
Your ears burn, young lady?
Would you care for refreshments?
What did you say your name was?
Everybody else's name always is.
Not really funny. That's just one of our bits of horsing at college.
I meant your first name.
Is Lucy a funny name, too?
No. Lucy is very much all right.
Here they are, Henry!
Thanks for what?
About letting my name be Lucy.
I've got this dance with her.
With Isabel, of course.
18 years have passed. Have you danced with poor old Fanny, too?
Old times are starting over again.
There aren't old times. Times that have gone aren't old, they're dead.
There aren't any times but new times.
What are you studying in school?
I beg your pardon?
What are you studying in school?
College. Lots of useless guff.
Why don't you study useful guff?
Something for your profession.
I don't intend to have a profession.
Well, just look at them.
That's a fine career for a man(!) Lawyers, bankers, politicians.
What do they ever get out of life?
What do they know about real things?
What do they ever get?
What do you want to be?
They always break down.
They do not!
Of course they do.
Horseless carriages! Automobiles!
People won't spend their lives on the road with grease on their faces.
I think your father better forget about it.
Papa would be grateful for your advice(!)
I haven't done anything to be insulted for.
I don't mind your being such a lofty person. I think it's interesting.
But Papa's a great man.
Is he? Well, let us hope so.
I hope so, I'm sure.
How lovely your mother is.
I think she is.
She's so graceful. She dances like a girl of 16.
Most girls of 16 are bad dancers.
Anyhow, I wouldn't dance with one unless I had to.
Er, the snow's fine for sleighing.
I'll be by for you in the cutter ten minutes after two.
Tomorrow? I can't.
I'll get your things.
I'll sit at your gate
and if you try to go with anyone, he must whip me first.
Take this in case you break down in that horseless carriage.
Uncle Jack. Come here.
Fanny, where are you going?
Oh, just out to look.
Who is this fellow, Morgan?
He's a man with a pretty daughter.
He certainly seems to feel at home here,
the way he danced with Mother and Aunt Fanny.
Well, I'm afraid your Aunt Fanny's heart
was stirred by ancient recollections.
You mean she was silly about him?
Oh, she wasn't considered singular.
He was... He was popular.
Are you so interested in the parents of every girl you dance with?
Oh, dry up. I only wanted to know.
Lucy, about that sleigh ride...
I want to look at your automobile carriage, Gene.
Fanny, you'll get cold.
Good night, Isabel.
Good night, Eugene.
You'll be ready.
No, I won't.
You will. Ten minutes after two.
Yes, I will.
-Gene, show us how it works!
Come on, Lucy!
I'm coming, Papa!
I hope you're going to be warm enough.
You think George is terribly arrogant and domineering?
He's still only a boy.
Plenty of fine stuff in him.
Can't help but be. He's Isabel Amberson's son.
You liked her pretty well once, I guess, Papa.
Yes. Do still.
That isn't all that's worrying you.
Well, I've been a little bothered about your father.
He looks so badly.
He's no different to normal.
He's worried about investments he made last year.
I think it's affected his health.
What investments? Not in Morgan's automobile concern?
Oh, no. That is all Eugene's.
Your father's rolling mills...
Hello, dear. Have you had trouble sleeping?
About Morgan and his sewing machine.
He wants Grandfather to invest. Is that what he's up to?
You silly! Eugene Morgan can finance his own inventions these days.
I bet he borrows from Uncle Jack.
Georgie, why do you say such things?
He just strikes me as that sort. Isn't he, Father?
A fairly wild fellow 20 years ago.
He was like you in one thing - he spent too much.
Only he didn't have a mother to get money for him.
He's done well. He doesn't need help to back his automobile.
What's he brought it here for?
I'm sure I don't know. Ask him.
I'll be in to say goodnight.
What is the matter with you?
Do you know why he doesn't want to go on that horseless carriage trip?
What do you mean?
You're his only sister and you don't know?
He never likes to go anywhere that I ever heard of.
What is the matter with you?
He doesn't want to go because he doesn't like Morgan.
Oh, good gracious!
Eugene Morgan isn't in your father's thoughts at all. Why should he be?
You two at it again?
What makes everybody so excited over this man Morgan?
Oh, shut up.
Can't people be glad to see an old friend
without silly children like you having to make a to-do about it?
I've just suggested that your mother might give a dinner for them.
For whom, Georgie.
"For whom, Georgie"(!)
For Mr Morgan and his daughter.
Look here, don't do that. Mother mustn't do that.
"Mother mustn't do that"(!)
It wouldn't look well.
"It wouldn't look well"(!)
See here, Georgie Minafer, I suggest that you just march into your room!
Sometimes you say things that show you have a pretty mean little mind!
What upset you?
Shut up! >
I know what you mean! You're saying I got Isabel to invite him for me!
I'm gonna move to a hotel! >
Because he's a widower.
I'm saying you're setting your cap for him and getting Mother to help?
Is that what you mean?
< You attend to your own affairs!
Well, I will be shot...
I will. I certainly will be shot.
Do you think you'll get it to start?
What's wrong with it, Gene?
I wish I knew.
ENGINE TURNS OVER
Get a horse! Get a horse!
What happened to them?
Are you all right?
They're all right, Isabel.
The snow bank's a feather bed.
I'm fine, Papa.
They're all right, Isabel.
You're not hurt, Lucy?
Don't make a fuss, Mother. Please.
I'm all right.
Are you sure? One doesn't realise the shock. You've got to be sure.
Let me brush you off.
You look bright, Lucy. Snow becomes you.
That darn horse.
He'll be home long before we will.
All we've got is this machine.
Dab the snow off. You mustn't be wet.
I'm not wet. Get in. You're standing in the snow.
You're the same Isabel - a divinely ridiculous woman.
George, you'll push her to get started?
"Divinely" and "ridiculous" balance each other.
Plus one and minus one equal nothing.
So I'm nothing in particular?
That doesn't seem to be precisely what I meant.
ENGINE TURNS OVER
Come on, Georgie, push!
Come on, Georgie, push!
What do you think I'm doing?
Your father wanted to prove it would run in snow.
It really does, too. It's so interesting.
He says he'll have wheels made of rubber, blown up with air.
I should think they'd explode.
It's so like old times to hear him.
< ALL SING
# ..Broke the bank at Monte Carlo! #
# ..independent air, hear the girls declare, be a millionaire... #
EUGENE: Be a millionaire!
George, you tried to swing underneath me
and break my fall when we went over.
It was nice of you.
It wasn't a big fall. How about that kiss?
# ..hear them sigh, wish to die
# See them wink the other eye
-# At the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo!
# As I...
# Walked along the Bois de Boulogne with an independent air
# You hear the girls declare, to be a millionaire... #
Town will hardly know he's gone.
Where did Isabel go to?
She was tired.
It never was becoming to her to look pale.
Oh, boy. Strawberry shortcake.
First of the season.
Hope it's big enough.
You knew I was coming home.
What did you say?
I suppose your mother's been gay at the commencement? Going a lot?
How could she, in mourning? All she can do is look glum.
That's all Lucy could do, too.
How did Lucy get home?
The train with the rest of us.
Quit bolting your food.
Did you drive out to their house with her before you came here?
No. She went home with her father.
Oh, I see.
Don't eat so fast, George.
So, er... Eugene came to the station to meet you?
To meet us?
How could he?
I don't know what you mean.
Want some more milk?
I haven't seen him while your mother's been away.
Naturally. He's been east himself.
Did you see him?
Naturally, since he made the trip home with us.
He did? He was with you all the time?
Uh-uh. Only on the train in the last three days before we left.
Uncle Jack got him to come along.
You're gonna get fat.
I can't help that. You're such a wonderful housekeeper.
You know how to make things taste good.
You won't stay single if some of the widowers...
It's a little odd.
Your mother's not saying that Mr Morgan had been along.
I'll tell you something in confidence.
Mr Morgan was looking pretty absentminded.
And he is dressing better.
He isn't dressing better, he's dressing up.
Fanny, you ought to be encouraging when a prized bachelor
shows by his haberdashery what he wants you to think about him.
Jack says the factory is doing quite well.
Aunt Fanny, I think he'll declare his intentions
and ask my permission to pay his addresses to you...
Oh, Aunt Fanny...
Oh, Fanny, we were only teasing.
Oh, let me alone!
We didn't mean anything.
Please let me alone!
I didn't know you were so sensitive.
It's getting so you can't joke with her about anything any more.
Since we found that Father's estate was washed up
and he didn't leave anything.
I thought she'd feel better when we turned over his insurance to her.
Gave it to her without any strings.
Think maybe we've been teasing her about the wrong things.
Fanny hasn't got much in her life.
You know, George, just being an aunt
isn't really the great career it may sometimes seem to be.
I really don't know of anything much Fanny has got.
Except her feeling about Eugene.
BANGING ON METAL
They're turning out a car and a quarter a day.
Isn't that marvellous?!
They're turning out a car and a quarter a day.
Mother, I don't get it.
All this noise and smell seem to be good for you.
You ought to come every time you get the blues.
The blues? I never knew a person of a more easy disposition.
I wish I could be more like that.
Wouldn't anyone be glad to see a friend take an idea out of the air,
an idea people laugh at him for,
and make such a splendid thing as this factory?
Remember this? Our first machine.
The original Morgan Invincible.
FANNY: How quaint.
Of course I'm happy. So very, very happy.
Look at the Morgan now.
It's beautiful. Just beautiful.
Did you ever see anything so lovely?
As your mother. She's a darling.
Papa looks as if he were going to either explode or utter loud sounds.
It's just glorious. It makes us all happy, Eugene.
Give him your hand, Fanny.
There. If brother Jack were here,
Eugene would have his three oldest and best friends congratulating him.
We know what Jack thinks about it, though.
I used to write verse about 20 years ago. Remember that?
I remember that, too.
I'm almost thinking I could do it again.
To thank you for making a factory visit into such a kind celebration.
Don't you think you should tell George?
There's still time.
I think he should hear it from you.
He will, dearest.
I'll still take a horse any day.
Do you want to trot his legs off?
No, but what?
You make him walk so you can give your attention to proposing again.
Do let Pendennis trot.
Get up, Pendennis. Trot. Commence!
Lucy, you are the prettiest thing in this world.
When are you going to say we're really engaged?
Not for years. So there's the answer.
Lucy, what's the matter? You look as if you're gonna cry.
You always do whenever I can get you to talk about marrying me.
I know it.
Well, why do you?
One reason is because I feel it's never going to be.
You haven't any reason or...
It's just a feeling.
I don't know. Everything is so unsettled.
If you aren't the queerest girl. What's unsettled?
For one thing, you haven't decided on anything to do yet.
At least, you've never spoken of it.
Haven't you understood that I'm not going into business or a profession?
What are you going to do?
Why, I expect to lead an honourable life.
I expect to contribute to charities and take part in...movements.
Whatever appeals to me.
I shall revert to my original question.
No, George. I think we -
Your father's a businessman.
A mechanical genius.
He thinks I ought to go into business before you're engaged?
No. I've not spoken to him about it.
But you know that's how he feels?
I wouldn't be much of a man if I let another man dictate my way of life.
Who is dictating your way of life?
I don't believe in the whole world
scrubbing dishes, selling potatoes or trying law cases.
I don't like your father's ideals any more than he does mine.
Get up, Pendennis.
Well, he seems to have recovered. Looks in good spirits.
I beg your pardon?
Your grandson. Last night he seemed inclined to melancholy.
Not getting emotional about all the money he spent at college, is he?
I wonder what he thinks I'm made of.
Gold. And he's right about that part of you, Father.
I suppose that may account for how heavy it feels nowadays sometimes.
This town seems to be rolling riot
over that old heart you mentioned just now, Jack.
Rolling over it and burying it under.
-I miss my best girl.
We all do. Lucy is on a visit. She's with a school friend.
She'll be back Monday.
George, why didn't you say? Not a word about Lucy's going away.
Probably afraid to.
Georgie might cry if he tried to speak of it.
Isn't that so, Georgie? >
Didn't Lucy tell you?
She told me.
Georgie didn't approve. I suppose you two aren't speaking again! >
I hear someone's opened a horseless carriage shop in the suburbs.
I suppose they'll drive you out of business.
Or you'll get together and drive us off the streets.
We'll even it up by making the streets bigger.
Streets will go to the county line.
I hope you're wrong. If people move that far,
real estate values in town will be stretched thin.
So your devilish machines are going to ruin us all. >
You think they'll change the land?
They're already doing it and it can't be stopped. Automobiles...
Automobiles are a useless nuisance.
What did you say, George?
Automobiles are a useless nuisance!
They had no business to be invented.
< You forget Mr Morgan makes them. And did his share in inventing them.
If you weren't so thoughtless, he might think you offensive.
I'm not sure George is wrong about automobiles.
With all their speed forward,
they may be a step backward in civilisation.
It may be that they won't add to the beauty of the world
or the life of men's souls.
I'm not sure. But automobiles have come.
And almost all outward things are going to be different
because of what they bring.
They're going to alter war and they're going to alter peace.
Men's minds are going to be changed in subtle ways because of them.
It may be that George is right.
It may be that in ten or 20 years from now,
if we can see the inward change in man by then,
I shouldn't be able to defend the gasoline engine
but would have to agree with George
that automobiles had no business to be invented.
If you'll excuse me.
I've got to run down to the shop.
I'll see you to the door.
Don't bother. I know the way.
FANNY: I'll come, too.
Georgie, dear, what did you mean?
Just what I said.
He was hurt.
Don't see why he should be. I didn't say anything about him.
He didn't seem hurt. Seemed cheerful.
What made you think he was hurt?
I know him.
By Jove, Georgie, you are a puzzle.
In what way?
It's a new style, courting a pretty girl,
for a fellow to deliberately make an enemy of her father
by attacking his business.
By Jove! It's a new way of winning a woman.
George, you struck just the right treatment to adopt.
Oh, what do you want?
Your father would thank you.
Quit the mysterious detective stuff.
But I approve of what you're doing.
What is wrong with you?
You're always picking on me, always.
Oh, my gosh...
You wouldn't treat anybody like this except Fanny.
You say, "It's nobody but Fanny so I'll kick her. Nobody will mind."
You're right. I haven't got anything since my brother died.
Oh, my gosh...
I never would have told you about it
if I hadn't seen that somebody else had told you.
Somebody else had told me what?
How people are talking about your mother.
What did you say?
I understood what you were doing by being rude to Eugene.
You'd give Lucy up if it came to a question of Isabel's reputation.
Look here. Just what do you mean?
I'm sorry for you, George.
But it's only old Fanny, so whatever she says, pick on her for it!
Hammer her! Hammer her! It's only poor, old, lonely Fanny.
Jack said any gossip was about you.
People laughing at how you ran after Morgan.
Oh, yes, it's always Fanny, ridiculous old Fanny, always!
You said Mother let him come here on your account...
She did. He liked to dance with me. He danced with me as much as her.
You said she only saw him when she was chaperoning you.
You don't suppose that stops talk?!
They just thought I didn't count. "It's only Fanny," they'd say.
Everybody knew they'd been engaged.
Everybody knows Isabel never cared for any other man.
I'm going crazy! You lied when you said there was no talk?
It'd be nothing if Wilbur had lived.
You mean Morgan might have married you?!
No. I might not have accepted him.
Are you saying that because he comes here and they see them out driving,
they think they were right in saying that she loved him before?
Before my father died?
Why, George... Don't you know that's what they say?
You must know that everybody...
Who told you?
Who said there was talk? Who?!
I suppose pretty much everybody.
Who?! How did you hear it? Answer!
It wouldn't be fair to give names.
Your friend across the way - has she ever mentioned this?
-You've been talking? Do you deny it?
-DO YOU DENY IT?!
She may have intimated...
What are you going to do?!
I mean, Mr Minafer. Won't you come in, please?
Well, how nice to see you.
Mrs Johnson, I've come to ask you a few questions.
Certainly. Anything I can do.
I don't mean to waste any time, Mrs Johnson.
You...were talking about a scandal that involved my mother's name.
My aunt said you told her the scandal.
I don't think she'd have said that.
We may have discussed matters that have been a topic in town.
Yes, I think you may have.
Other people may be less considerate.
Other people? That's what I want to know. How many?
How many people talk about it?
This isn't a court. I'm not a defendant in a libel suit.
You may be. I want to know who said these things! I mean to know -
You mean to know?! Well, you'll know something pretty quick.
You'll know that you're out on the street. Please to leave my house!
Now you have done it!
What? You think riffraff can go bandying my mother's good name?
They can now! Georgie, gossips never fail...
If you think I'm gonna let my mother's good name...
Good name(!) Nobody has a good name in a bad or silly mouth.
Don't you understand me? People say Mother means to marry...
Yes, I understood you!
Gosh, you speak of it so calmly.
Why shouldn't they marry?
Why shouldn't they?!
Yes, why shouldn't they?!
That you can sit there and speak of it! Your sister!
Oh, for heaven's sake! Don't be so theatrical. Come back!
Leave it, Mary. I'll see who it is and what they want.
Probably it's only a peddlar.
Thank you, Mr George.
Good afternoon, George. Your mother expects to go driving with me.
If you'll send her word I'm here.
I beg your pardon? I said...
You said you had an engagement with my mother and I said no.
What's the matter?
My mother will not care that you came today. Or any other day.
I don't understand.
I doubt I can make it much plainer.
But I'll try. You're not wanted here, Mr Morgan.
Now or at any other time.
Perhaps you'll understand this!
DOOR CLOSES BELOW
I've just come from Eugene.
I want to talk to you.
I can just guess what that was about!
He's telling her what you did to Eugene.
-Go to your room.
-You're not going in?!
-Go to your room.
George! No, you don't! Keep away from there!
Go on to the top of the stairs! Go on!
Like squabbling outside the door of an operating room.
The idea of you going in there!
Jack's telling Isabel and you let him. He's got consideration for her!
And I haven't?
You considerate of anybody?!
I'm considerate of her good name.
You're taking a different tack.
I thought you knew everything I did!
I was suffering, so I wanted to let out a little.
I was a fool! He wouldn't have had me even if he'd never seen Isabel!
And they haven't done any harm!
She made... Wilbur happy.
She was a true wife to him as long as he lived.
Here I go, not doing myself a bit of good by it. I'm just ruining him.
You said all the riffraff were busy with her name.
I protect her and you attack...
Look. He's leaving.
< I'll be back, Isabel.
George! Let her alone.
She's down there by herself. Don't go down.
Let her alone.
'Dearest one, yesterday I thought the time had come
'when I could ask you to marry me
'and you were dear enough to tell me, "Sometime it might come to that."
'Now we are faced not with slander and not with our own fear of it,
'because we haven't any,
'but someone else's fear of it - your son's.
'Oh, dearest woman in the world, I know what your son is to you
'and it frightens me.
'Let me explain a little.
'I don't think he'll change.
'At 21 or 22, so many things appear solid, permanent and terrible,
'which 40 sees are nothing but disappearing miasma.
'40 can't tell 20 about this.
'20 can find out only by getting to be 40.
'And so we come to this, dear.
'Will you live your life your way or George's way?
'Dear, it breaks my heart for you but what you have to oppose now
'is the history of your own selfless and perfect motherhood.
'Are you strong enough, Isabel?
'Can you make the fight?
'I promise you that if you will take heart for it,
'you will find so quickly that it's all amounted to nothing.
'You shall have happiness and only happiness.
'I'm saying too much for wisdom, I fear,
'but, oh, my dear, won't you be strong?
'Such a little, short strength it would need.
'Don't strike my life down twice, dear.
'This time I've not deserved it.'
KNOCK AT DOOR
Come in. >
Did you read it, dear?
Yes, I did.
All of it?
Well, what do you think, Georgie?
What do you mean?
You can see how fair he means to be.
Fair?! Fair? When he says that he and you don't care what people say?
What people say?
That Eugene loves me?
He's always loved you.
That's true, Georgie.
But you're my mother.
You're an Amberson. You just...
I don't know, Mother.
I'll write Eugene.
It'll be better this way.
We'll go away for a while, you and I.
Lucy, you... Haven't you...
Haven't I what?
May I walk with you a little way?
I want to talk to you, Lucy.
Hope it's something nice. Papa's so glum, he's scarcely spoken.
-Is it a funny story?
It may seem like one to you.
To begin with, when you went away, you didn't let me know. Not a word.
Why, no. I just trotted off for some visits.
Least you might have...
No. We'd had a quarrel and we didn't speak all the way home on the drive.
Since we couldn't play like good children, we oughtn't to play at all
What I mean is, we'd come to the point
where it was time to quit playing.... what we were playing.
At being lovers, you mean?
Something like that. It was absurd.
Didn't have to be absurd.
It couldn't help but be.
The way I am and you are, it would never be anything else.
This time I'm going away. That's what I want to tell you, Lucy.
I'm going away tomorrow night. Indefinitely.
I hope you have ever so nice a time.
I don't expect to have a very nice time.
Well, then, if I were you, I don't think I'd go.
This is our last walk together.
Evidently, if you're going away tomorrow.
This is the last time I'll see you. Ever. Ever in my life.
Mother and I are starting on a trip round the world and...
we've made no plans for coming back.
My, that is a long trip.
Will you travel all the time or stay in one place for part of it? I...
Lucy! I can't stand this. I'm just about ready to go in that drugstore
for something to keep me from dying in my tracks. It's quite a shock.
To find out how deeply you care, to see what difference it makes to you.
I can't stand this any longer. I can't, Lucy.
I think it's goodbye for good, Lucy.
I do hope you have the most splendid trip.
Give my love to your mother.
May I please have a few drops of aromatic spirits of ammonia
and a glass of water?
For gosh sake, Miss!
Mighty nice of you, Lucy, you and Eugene
to have me over to your new house my first day back.
You'll probably find the old town dull after Paris.
I...found Isabel as well as usual.
Only, I'm afraid "as usual" isn't...particularly well.
Struck me Isabel ought to be in a wheelchair.
What do you mean by that?
Oh, she's cheerful enough. Least...
..she manages to seem so.
Pretty short of breath.
Father's been that way for years, of course, but...
never nearly so much as Isabel is now.
I told her she ought to make Georgie let her come home.
Does she want to?
She doesn't urge it.
George likes the life there in his grand, gloomy and peculiar way.
She'll never change about being proud of him and all that.
He's quite a swell.
She does want to come.
She'd like to be with Father, of course, and I think she's...
Well, she intimated one day that she was afraid it might even happen
that she wouldn't get to see him again.
I think she was really thinking of her own state of health.
And you say he won't let her come home?
I don't think he uses force.
He's very gentle with her.
I doubt if the subject is mentioned between them, and yet...
Yet knowing my interesting nephew as you do,
wouldn't you think that was not the way to put it?
Knowing him as I do...yes.
You mean... You mean the town?
You mean, the old place has changed, don't you, dear?
It'll change to a happier place, now that you're here.
You're going to get well again.
Mr George will be right down.
I've come to see your mother, George.
I'm sorry, Mr Morgan.
Not this time, George.
I'm going up to see her.
The doctor said that...
she had to be kept quiet.
I'll be quiet.
I don't think you should right now.
-The doctor said...
Fanny is right, Gene.
Why don't you come back later?
< She wants to see you.
Darling... did you get something to eat?
All you needed?
Are you sure you didn't catch cold coming home?
I'm all right, Mother.
What is, Mother, darling?
My hand against your cheek.
I can feel it.
if Eugene and Lucy know that we've come home.
I'm sure they do.
Has he asked about me?
He was here.
Has he gone?
I'd liked to have seen him.
< She must rest now.
She loved you.
She loved you!
NARRATOR: 'And now, Major Amberson was engaged
'in the profoundest thinking of his life.
'He realised that everything which had worried him or delighted him -
'all his buying and building and trading and banking -
'that it was all trifling and waste
'beside what concerned him now.
'For the Major knew he had to plan how to enter an unknown country,
'where he was not even sure of being recognised as an Amberson.'
The house was in Isabel's name, wasn't it?
Can you remember when you gave her the deed, Father?
No, I can't just remember.
-It doesn't matter.
The whole estate has got as mixed up as an estate can get.
You want to have that deed, George?
No, don't bother. >
It must be in the sun.
There wasn't anything here...
but the sun in the first place.
The earth came out of the sun.
We came out of the earth.
So, for whatever we are, we must have been the earth...
Odd way for us to be saying goodbye.
One wouldn't have thought it even a few years ago.
But here we are, two gentlemen of elegant appearance,
in a state of bustitude.
You can't ever tell what will happen at all, can you?
Once I stood where we're standing to say goodbye to a pretty girl.
Only it was in the old station before this was built.
We knew we wouldn't see each other for almost a year.
I thought I couldn't live through it.
She stood there crying.
Don't even know where she lives now. Or if she is living.
If she thinks of me, she probably imagines
I'm still dancing in the ballroom at the Amberson mansion.
She probably thinks of the mansion as still beautiful,
still the finest house in town.
Ah, life and money both behave like
loose quicksilver in a nest of cracks.
When they're gone you can't tell where,
or what the devil you did with them.
But I believe I'll say now
while there isn't much time for us to get more embarrassed...
I've always been fond of you.
I can't say I've always liked you. We spoiled you terribly.
But this is a heavy chill. You've taken it quietly.
The train's coming. At times I felt you ought to be hanged.
There may be somebody else who's felt like that -
fond of you, I mean, no matter how much it seems you ought to hang.
I must run. I'll send back the money as fast as they pay me.
Goodbye. God bless you, Georgie.
Did you ever hear the Indian name for that grove of beech trees?
And you never did either.
The name was Lo-man-na-sha.
It means, They Couldn't Help It.
Doesn't sound like it.
Indian names don't.
A bad Indian chief lived there. The worst Indian that ever lived.
His name was... It was...
..Ven-dona. It means, Rides Down Everything.
Ven-dona - Rides Down Everything.
Ven-dona was unspeakable.
He was so proud he wore iron shoes and walked over people's faces.
At last the tribe decided
it wasn't a good enough excuse that he was young and inexperienced,
he'd have to go.
They took him to the river, put him in a canoe,
pushed him out from the shore
and the current carried him on down to the ocean and he never got back.
They didn't want him back, of course. They hated Ven-dona.
But they weren't able to discover
any other warrior they wanted to make chief in his place.
They couldn't help feeling that way.
I see. So that's why they named the place They Couldn't Help It.
It must have been.
So, you're going to stay in your garden?
You think it's better to keep walking about among your flower beds
till you get old?
Like a pensive garden lady in a Victorian engraving. Hm?
I suppose I'm like that tribe that lived here, Papa.
I had too much unpleasant excitement. I don't want any more.
In fact, I don't want anything but you.
You don't? What was the name of that grove?
The Indian name, I mean.
That wasn't the name you said.
I'd say you have.
Perhaps you remember the chief's name better.
I hope some day you can forget it.
Try and understand. It's not doing us any good to argue! That place...
This boarding house is practical and we could be together.
How? On eight dollars a week?
I'm only going to be getting eight dollars a week at the law office.
You'd be paying more of the expenses than I would.
I'd be paying? I'd be paying?
Certainly. We'd be using more of your money than mine.
My money? My...
I've got 28! That's all!
I know I told Jack I didn't put everything in the headlight company
but... I did.
And it's gone.
Why wait till now to tell me?
I couldn't tell till I had to!
It wouldn't do any good.
Oh, my gosh...
Oh, I know what you're gonna do.
You're... You're gonna leave me in the lurch!
I'm only asking you to be reasonable.
It's impossible for either of us to go on this way.
Will you get up?!
I'm too weak.
Oh... None of this makes any sense. Will you get up?!
I...know your mother would want me to watch over you
and try and make something like a home for you.
And I've tried.
I tried to make things as nice for you as I could.
I know that.
I walked my heels down looking for a place for us to live.
I... I walked and walked over this town.
I didn't ride one block on a streetcar.
I wouldn't use five cents no matter how tired I was!
For gosh sakes, get up! Don't sit against the boiler!
Get up, Aunt Fanny!
It's not hot! It's cold!
The plumber's disconnected it!
I wouldn't mind if they hadn't.
I wouldn't mind if it...
I wouldn't mind if it burned me, George!!
For gosh sakes, get up!
SHE SCREAMS HYSTERICALLY
Stop it! Stop it!
Stop it! Stop it!
Listen to me now!
There. That's better.
Now let's see where we stand.
Let's see if we can afford this place you picked out.
I'm sure the boarding house is practical. I'm sure it is.
I know it must be practical.
And it is a comfort to be among nice people.
I was thinking of the money, Aunt.
There's one great economy. They... They don't allow tipping.
They have signs that prohibit it.
That's good. But the rent is 36 a month.
And dinner is 22.50 for each of us.
I've got about 100 left.
100. That's all.
I won't need any new clothes for a year. Perhaps if...
Oh, so you see...
Yes, I see.
I see that 36 and 45 make 81.
At the lowest we'll need 100 a month.
And I'm going to be making 32.
A real flair. Real flair for the law.
That's right. Couldn't wait till tomorrow to begin.
The law's a jealous mistress and a stern one.
I can't. I can't take up the law.
I must find something quicker, something that pays from the start.
I can't think of anything like that.
I've heard they pay high wages to people in dangerous trades
who handle chemicals, explosives, in the dynamite factories.
I thought I'd try for a job like that. I want to start tomorrow.
Georgie, your grandfather and I were friends.
You think I don't know what's wrong?
Well, it's Aunt Fanny. She's set her mind on this boarding house.
She put everything in the headlight company.
She's got some old cronies
and I guess she's looking forward to games of bridge and gossip.
It's a life she'd like better than anything else.
Struck me as she's got to have it.
I got her into the headlight firm. I feel a responsibility.
It's my responsibility. She's not your aunt.
I can't see that a man is morally obliged to give up a career in law
to give his aunt a favourable opportunity to play bridge!
All right! If you promise not to get blown up,
I'll see if we can find you the job.
You certainly are the most practical young man I ever met.
NARRATOR: 'George Amberson Minafer walked home
'through what seemed to be the strange streets of a strange city.
'For the town was growing, changing.
'It was heaving up in the middle incredibly.
'It was spreading incredibly.
'And as it heaved and spread,
'it befouled itself and darkened its sky.
'This was the last walk home
'he was ever to take up National Avenue to Amberson Addition
'to the big, old house at the foot of Amberson Boulevard.'
'Tomorrow they were to move out.
'Tomorrow everything would be gone.
Mother, forgive me.
God, forgive me.
NARRATOR: 'Something had happened.
'The thing which, years ago,
'had been the eagerest hope of many, many good citizens of the town.
'And now it came at last.
'George Amberson Minafer had got his comeuppance.
'He got it three times filled...
'..and running over.
'But those who had so longed for it were not there to see it
'and they never knew it.'
'Those who were still living had forgotten all about it...
'and all about him.'
Stay back there now!
He run into me as much as I run into him.
If he gets well, he won't get a cent out of me!
I'll only say I'm sorry for him.
Wonderful the damage these machines can do. All right, back in your car.
What are you going to do, Papa?
I'm going to him.
You coming, Papa?
How is he?
How is Georgie?
He's going to be all right.
Fanny, I wish you could've seen Georgie's face when he saw Lucy.
You know what he said to me when we went into that room?
.."You must have known my mother wanted you to come here today,
"so that I could ask you to forgive me."
We shook hands.
I never noticed before how much like Isabel Georgie looks.
You know something, Fanny?
I wouldn't tell this to anybody but you.
But it seemed to me as if someone else was in that room.
And that through me she brought her boy under shelter again.
And that I'd been true at last...
..to my true love.
NARRATOR: 'Ladies and gentlemen,
'The Magnificent Ambersons was based on Booth Tarkington's novel.
'Stanley Cortez was the photographer.
'Mark-Lee Kirk designed the sets.
'Al Fields dressed them.
'Robert Wise was the film editor.
'Fred E Fleck was the assistant director.
'Edward Stevenson designed the ladies' wardrobe.
'The special effects were by Vernon L Walker.
'The sound recording was by Bailey Flessner and James G Stewart.
'Here's the cast: Eugene - Joseph Cotten.
'Isabel - Dolores Costello.
'Lucy - Anne Baxter.
'George - Tim Holt.
'Fanny - Agnes Moorehead.
'Jack - Ray Collins.
'Roger Bronson - Erskine Sandford.
'Major Amberson - Richard Bennett.
'I wrote the script and directed it.
'My name is Orson Welles.
'This is a Mercury Production.'
Subtitles by Julie Sutherland, IMS
E-mail us at [email protected]
Orson Welles's period drama telling the story of a wilful son of the proud Amberson family who destroys his mother's hopes of marrying her first love - a recent widower. Refusing to move with the times, he not only causes his mother to suffer but also brings about his own financial ruin.
Based on the novel by Booth Tarkington.