Spain, 1966, 116 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Orson Welles, Unrated, Janus Films
"May be the greatest Shakespearean film ever made, bar none." - Vincent Canby, The New York Times
At long last, welcome to Orson Welles’ final - and arguably greatest - Shakespearean adaptation. Chimes at Midnight is a wintry lament for the “death of Merrie England” with Welles’ "plump Jack Falstaff” - a part that over the years he grew into - as the force of love and life versus the icily ruthless Prince Hal of Keith Baxter, with John Gielgud’s King Henry IV the moral center. Chimes boasts some of Welles’ most grandiose imagery: Gielgud perched on his throne in some of the emptiest and draftiest castles ever filmed; Margaret Rutherford, Jeanne Moreau and Welles’ daughter Beatrice highlighted among teeming tavern scenes; Welles kneeling among a forest of spears, and hoisted, fully armored, atop a terrified horse; climaxing with one of the greatest battle scenes ever put on film. Rights issues over decades have made it impossible to see one of Welles’ greatest masterpieces - the director’s personal favorite.