Chimes at Midnight
1965, Orson Welles, Spain, 115 min. With Orson Welles, Keith Baxter.
- Sat, Dec 3rd 3:00pm
- Thu, Dec 8th 6:00pm
★★★★ "This is a magnificent film, clearly among Welles' greatest work...It is also magnificent Shakespeare." — Roger Ebert
The recipient of mixed reviews and poor distribution when first released, CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT is now considered by many to be the greatest of all Shakespeare films; it was also Welles's personal favorite among his own films. Portions of five different plays (primarily Henry IV, Parts I and II, and Henry V) are woven together to focus on Sir John Falstaff as the center of a tragicomic narrative tracing his relationship as mentor, boon companion, bad example, and eventual embarrassment to Prince Hal (Baxter), later King Henry V. Welles's hearty, heartfelt, ultimately heartbreaking performance as Falstaff heads up a cast that includes John Gielgud as Henry IV, Jeanne Moreau as Doll Tearsheet, and Margaret Rutherford as Mistress Quickly. Despite being filmed under difficult, underfinanced conditions, CHIMES displays Welles's gifts for visualization and editing in full form, capped by the spectacularly brutal Battle of Shrewsbury scene. DCP digital. (MR)