The Search For the Lost Print:

The Making of Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons​



Partnership Aims to Locate Missing Reels of Original Version With Research Trip to Brazil as part of Feature Documentary on 1942 Classic


Film Will Premiere in 2022 in Honor of The Magnificent Ambersons‘ 80th Anniversary

“They destroyed Ambersons and it destroyed me.” So said Orson Welles, about 1942’s The Magnificent Ambersons, his follow up to Citizen Kane after RKO Studios unceremoniously fired him from the film. Following disastrous test screenings, RKO cut 43 minutes from Ambersons and shot new scenes against his wishes, including tacking on a new ending. The original, excised footage was melted down for its nitrate for use in World War II. However, even in its mutilated form, the film is still considered a classic.


Now Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and filmmaker Joshua Grossberg are teaming up to search for the original version of The Magnificent Ambersons in hopes of finding and restoring once and for all Welles’ vision to the big screen – what film historians universally hail as the Holy Grail of cinema.


As part of the initiative, TCM will sponsor Grossberg’s research trip to Brazil to follow up on leads that he’s developed over his 25-year search. At the same time, the writer-director is chronicling his quest in a feature-length documentary entitled The Search for the Lost Print: The Making of Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons. The film, produced by Joseph Schroeder and Gary Greenblatt under Grossberg’s production banner Under the Dome Ltd., will not only follow Grossberg’s quest to find the original version, but also explore the legend surrounding the lost print, Ambersons’ troubled production, and Welles’ exile from Hollywood – the critical turning point in a career that would see this giant of cinema go on to forge a more independent filmmaking path.


The legend of Welles’ director’s cut has only grown as cinephiles discovered details gleaned from production photos and first-hand accounts from those who viewed it. Film historians now regard this lost version as Welles’ second masterpiece, which the auteur once said was even better than Citizen Kane, if only the studio had left it alone.


“We know it’s a long shot but if these guys are able to find Orson Welles’ version of the film it would be one of the greatest discoveries in the history of cinema,” said Charlie Tabesh, ‎senior vice-president, programming and content strategy for Turner Classic Movies (TCM). “It’s too important not to try.”


“Considering the missing full-length version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis was discovered in an Argentine museum in 2008, it’s entirely possible the lost print of Ambersons survives somewhere in Brazil,” said writer-director Joshua Grossberg. “To finally be able to track down the leads I developed is exciting and I’m grateful to TCM for their support.”


The dream of restoring The Magnificent Ambersons to Welles’ original vision was thought to be impossible – until now. In the mid-1990s, Grossberg stumbled on tantalizing leads regarding its whereabouts: a film archivist working at a Brazilian film distributor claimed to have seen canisters comprising the 131 minute version in the 1960s; this and other new information may help Josh shed light on the fate of the Lost Print.


Now a quarter of a century later, Grossberg is returning to Brazil to finish what he started and locate the lost print of The Magnificent Ambersons. Should he be successful, the print’s discovery would be a Cinematic Lost Ark, a treasure beyond cinephiles’ wildest aspirations.


Grossberg’s return trip to Brazil will commence in fall 2021 and see him renew his search for the lost print as well as interview key players in this fascinating tale. The Search for the Lost Print: The Making of Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons is scheduled to premiere in July, 2022 in honor of the film’s 80th anniversary. And if all goes well and the print is found and in viable condition, Grossberg and TCM will restore The Magnificent Ambersons to premiere alongside the documentary’s release.


To view the original vision of the master… what could be more magnificent than that?


About Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a two-time Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world highlighting the entire spectrum of film history. TCM features the insights from Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz along with hosts Alicia Malone, Dave Karger, Jacqueline Stewart and Eddie Muller, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests and serves as the ultimate movie lover destination. Currently in its 27th year as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers critically acclaimed series like The Essentials, along with annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar® in February and Summer Under the Stars in August. TCM also directly connects with movie fans through events as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, the TCM Big Screen Classics series in partnership with Fathom Events, as well as through the TCM Classic Film Tour in New York City and Los Angeles. In addition, TCM produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs, and hosts a wealth of material online at and through the Watch TCM mobile app.




Joshua Grossberg is a New York-based filmmaker (PGA) and journalist. Through his film production company, Under the Dome Ltd., he writes, directs and produces feature-length documentaries, narrative films, various scripted and unscripted television projects, commercials, and branded entertainment for the Web. Most recently, Grossberg was a producer on HBO’s acclaimed documentary special, Between the World and Me as well as the Emmy-winning two-part documentary Brightness of Noon: The Intersect of Faith, Immigration and Refugees, which aired on ABC. After years of making short films and working as an entertainment journalist for such outlets as E! Online, New York Magazine and SYFY Wire, Grossberg transitioned to filmmaking full time with his debut feature, 2010’s award-winning Hurricane Katrina documentary, A Bridge Life: Finding Our Way Home.


Follow The Search for the Lost Print on social media:


Twitter: @LostPrintMovie
Instagram: @LostPrintMovie
Hashtag: #WellesCut





Ambersons Lost!

The Magnificent Ambersons … every cinephile worth their weight either owns a copy, or makes a date for a midnight screening every time it comes to their local movie house. What no one has, however, is a lost print of the film, regarded as genius by everyone who came in contact with it. As many already know, The Magnificent Ambersons

was Orson Welles’ follow up to his acclaimed masterpiece, Citizen Kane. A legend surrounds Ambersons, one that details the cutting of an original print by overzealous Hollywood studio producers. This “lost print” was Welles’ preferred cut of the film, and he himself said, “it was a much better picture than Kane—if they’d just left it as it was.”

After finishing his director’s cut of Ambersons, Welles traveled to Brazil to work on his next project, It’s All True, a film depicting four separate stories of Latin and South American culture. As a result, Welles tasked editor Robert Wise with readying Ambersons for its theatrical release that spring.

"The magnificence of the Ambersons began in 1873."

After a test screening in March 1942 however, RKO pressured Wise to recut The Magnificent Ambersons in response to audience comments that the film was too dark. As a result, 43 minutes were removed from Welles’ version and later melted down for nitrate for use in the war.

And what Welles called his most personal project was ultimately released that August without fanfare and slipped into obscurity, causing irreparable damage to Welles’ career. Welles himself asserted: “They destroyed Ambersons and it destroyed me.”


Many believe the reels containing Welles’ cut of Ambersons still exist, but are unsure where they could be found. They could be deep in the vault at Paramount studios, buried in a film collector’s basement without their knowledge, or hidden among stacks of reels housed at the Rio Cinemateca archives in Brazil.
Seventy-eight years after its initial release, one man will begin the search anew. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Joshua Grossberg first started chasing this lost print in the mid-’90s, and remains fascinated by it to this day. His forthcoming documentary, The Search for the Lost Print: The Making of Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons, will detail
his travels around the globe to find those missing 43 minutes that have vexed cinephiles for decades. Join the hunt as Josh encounters twists and turns, makes a few friends along the way, and explores a pivotal turning point in the career of one of the greatest directors of all time.

The Investigators



A New York-based filmmaker and member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA), Grossberg most recently served as archival producer on the HBO documentary Between the World and Me.

He is best known for his award-winning feature documentary, A Bridge Life: Finding Our Way Home, about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which streamed on Netflix.


He also produced the Emmy-winning Brightness of Noon, a two-part documentary about immigration and the refugee crisis which aired on ABC. Other producing credits include Fashion: House of Chanel, an 8-episode docuseries for Stephen David Entertainment commissioned by Amazon, and the forthcoming documentary The Power of Protest for the Independent Production Fund.

Joe Schroeder


Dubbed the “Swiss Army Knife” of documentary and nonfiction production by colleagues, Joseph Schroeder is an industry veteran specializing in the production of highly acclaimed educational and informational programming. For over a decade, he has handled everything from initial development to final delivery of programs for major television networks including PBS, National Geographic, A&E and Discovery. He has maintained operations for independent production companies between major projects, and his industry volunteer work includes videography for DOC NYC, photography for Pure Nonfiction, and two full years running the Documentary Salon Series for the Producers Guild of America.

Gary Greenblatt

Gary Greenblatt is an award winning digital content producer and app developer. He was  Executive Producer of the first music video on the internet website ( and also produced one of the first streaming audio websites (Flash Radio). In addition he is a musician and award winning composer of score for dance and performance, and is currently working on his first musical. Gary is a long time member of the the Producers Guild of America NMC and a serious Orson Welles aficionado.

Cintia Chamecki

Award winning filmmaker Cintia Chamecki moved from Curitiba, Brazil to New York City in 1997 and worked as a dancer and choreographer. In 2013 Cintia produced, edited and directed her first feature-length documentary ESTAMOS AQUI – (Danken Got)! The film was presented in festivals around the world. Cíntia currently works as a freelancer in numerous post-production facilities .Her most recent works includes So-Il Architects documentary for MAAT museum in Lisbon and renowned vocalist Ute Lemper’s rendition of “All That Jazz” filmed and recorded for streaming during the pandemic.

Rosane Chamecki
Motion Graphics Artist

Rosane Chamecki is an animator, compositor, and designer. Rosane has worked at numerous post-production facilities and ad agencies, and on various documentaries including Estamos Aqui (Danken Got), The Human Microbiome, and Itzak.
Her background as choreographer and video artist as part of the collaborative duo chame ckilerner has earned her a Guggenheim Fellowship, Best Experimental Film Award at Brooklyn Film Festival, Jury Award at Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center.


Contact Us

Follow The Search For the Lost Print on social media


For more information, contact