From: The Magnificent Ambersons

From: The Magnificent Ambersons

Isabel and Eugene love each other.  They argue.  Isabel marries someone else and has a son named Georgie – who is spoiled, selfish and pretty self-centered.  Years later, Eugene comes back to town with his daughter.  He’s a widower with a daughter.  Georgie falls in love with Eugene’s daughter, Lucy, but she doesn’t think it will ever come to be, so she discourages him (even though she loves him).  After Georgie’s father dies, Eugene and Isabel want to get married.  Once Georgie finds out, his disapproval breaks them up.

Letter from Eugene to Isabel:

 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 that sometime it might come to that. 

But now we are faced not with slander, not with our own fear of it – because we haven’t any – but with someone else’s fear of it. Your son’s. 

And 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 and permanent and terrible which forty sees are nothing but  disappearing miasma. Forty can’t tell twenty about this.  Twenty can only find out by getting to be forty. 

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 the heart for it, you will find so quickly that it has 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.

Isabel gives the letter to George to read, and then…

Isabel:   Did you read it dear?

George: Yes, I did.

I:   All of it?

G: Yes.

I:   Well, what do you think, Georgie?

G:  What do you mean?

I:  You can see how fair he means to be.

G: Fair?? When he says that you and he don’t care what people say??

I:  What people say?  That Eugene loves me?

G:  He’s ALWAYS loved you!

I:  That’s true, Georgie

G: But you’re …my mother.  You’re an Amberson.  You just…

I:  Yes, dear?

G: I don’t know, Mother.  (Sounding angry)

I:  Never mind, I’ll write Eugene.  (Resignedly)  He’ll understand. He’ll wait.  It’ll be better this way. We’ll go away together for a little while – you and I….

For a few years, George and Isabel live in Europe.  She wants to come home but George doesn’t, so she stays.  She becomes ill.  When they do finally come home, Eugene goes to see her, but no one will let him.  He starts to bypass them all but the doctor even asks him to come back later.  She is obviously dying.

On her death bed she asks George if Eugene has asked about her.  At least George tells her yes that he had been there.  She says she would have liked to have seen him.  Just once. 

 But she dies that night without ever seeing him again.

Years later, George is broke and is hit by a car, breaking both his legs.  Lucy, who has always loved him, goes to him – and so does Eugene.  George asks for Eugene’s forgiveness and you are left knowing that Lucy and George – at least – will be together and happy, and that Isabel, even from the grave, has managed to protect her son once again. 

What a sad movie in so many ways…

Georgie, Isabel and Eugene


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