a stills and narration reconstruction works.
a 3-D animated reconstruction is possible now using 3-D Max. i have it with all the extras but have not had a lot of use for it yet, so i don't know it that well, but when i watched a few of the tutotial tapes i have on 3-D Max and saw what it can do, the first thing that crossed my mind was restoring missing footage in ambersons. but not recreating footage, using clip art from the film on like a chess board and moving the pieces around as the narrator reads. it would look nothing like footage. the more you try to imitate footage the more distracting it is.
and i don't think you would need all the voices of the actors. audio books work. the missing scenes in ambersons could be like an audio book with stills, or with animation. also, the stills cache can be augmented by taking clip art from the film and making paste-ups in photoshop. that approach is pretty easy, affordable, and i think pretty darn effective.
what does not work is a lot of reading. in the ambersons, there is so much reading, it would be overwhelming.
also, the copy i have now has herrmann's score from the preamble cd restored. it kicks butt. one of our members here, MTEAL, did all the research, found all the right places to put the stuff, and like i said, it works. no animation, some of it hacked together with 2 vcrs, some of it done in a computer. ragged, jump cuts and all. it worked. i kept coming back to it. now i can't watch the regular ambersons any more. Mteal emailed me, saw that i had posted about it here. he said he would not mind running off a copy for some one.
send him a private message here, get his address, send him a blank tape and sase. if ambersons is your favorite film, you can't live without this incredible reconstruction. the 2 guys that did it are starting the 2004 restoration soon. i was happy with the 2003 restoration, the first complete draft. the whole film all the way till the boarding house. that is the only spot that lost me a bit, eugene getting from the hospital to the boarding house, but that should be easy enough to fix.