10 Movies Which Were Completely Changed After Test Screenings
10. The Magnificent Ambersons
"We do not need trouble pictures, especially now. Make pictures to make us forget...not remember." These words on a test card from a preview screening of Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons in 1941 speak volumes about the pubic mood as World War 2 raged around them. Following on from Citizen Kane, it's difficult to imagine that Welles would have any problems getting final cut on his sophomore feature, yet The Magnificent Ambersons ended up considerably less pessimistic than the great director had intended. Comments such as those above - and the strong actions taken by RKO in light of the public's reaction to the rough cuts - prove that the influence of test screenings isn't a recent phenomenon and can affect filmmakers of unprecedented talent. The cut preferred by Welles, which had caused the studio to intervene with considerable re-shoots and a "happy" ending, was lost in a fire, one of the greatest losses of cinematic history and especially so in light of the polarizing nature of the test cards, one of which read, "I think it was the best picture I have ever seen".