Huw Wheldon: When eventually Kane was made it was an enormous success as all the world knows, and it has gone on being a success, and it’s a long time ago now. Have you ever regretted that so great a success came so early?Orson Welles: Well, I’ve regretted early successes in many fields, but I don’t regret that in Kane because it was the only chance I ever had of that kind. I’m glad I had it at any time in my life—I wish I had it more often. I wish I had, you know, a chance like that every year; there would be 18 pictures, not just one.HW: Two, Ambersons.OW: Two, except Ambersons. At the end of it there’s a very serious piece of surgery involved there, a change.HW: Which wasn’t done by you.OW: No. There are two short scenes in it I didn’t write or direct and over 3 reels were taken out in their entirety, and they were, in my view, the reason for making the film, not simply good reels, but the whole film was a preparation for those reels which were too tough and too… er—in those days, too hard-boiled for the exhibitors’ tastes, and by the time I returned from South America—that’s a long story I won’t go into—to supervise the release of Ambersons, RKO had fallen into the hands of the counterrevolutionary forces. And I no longer was invited into the cutting-room.
BBC Monitor - 1960.

Huw Wheldon: When eventually Kane was made it was an enormous success as all the world knows, and it has gone on being a success, and it’s a long time ago now. Have you ever regretted that so great a success came so early?
Orson Welles: Well, I’ve regretted early successes in many fields, but I don’t regret that in Kane because it was the only chance I ever had of that kind. I’m glad I had it at any time in my life—I wish I had it more often. I wish I had, you know, a chance like that every year; there would be 18 pictures, not just one.

HW: Two, Ambersons.
OW: Two, except Ambersons. At the end of it there’s a very serious piece of surgery involved there, a change.

HW: Which wasn’t done by you.
OW: No. There are two short scenes in it I didn’t write or direct and over 3 reels were taken out in their entirety, and they were, in my view, the reason for making the film, not simply good reels, but the whole film was a preparation for those reels which were too tough and too… er—in those days, too hard-boiled for the exhibitors’ tastes, and by the time I returned from South America—that’s a long story I won’t go into—to supervise the release of Ambersons, RKO had fallen into the hands of the counterrevolutionary forces. And I no longer was invited into the cutting-room.

BBC Monitor - 1960.

The Films of Orson Welles

Part One: 1941 - 1952
Citizen Kane | The Magnificent Ambersons | The Stranger | The Lady from Shanghai | Macbeth | Othello

The staircase from Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons recycled in Val Lewton & Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People from the same year.

(L: Cat People, R: The Magnificent Ambersons)