Chimes at Midnight

Chimes at Midnight

A film by Orson Welles
Starring Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford

The crowning achievement of Orson Welles’s later film career, Chimes at Midnight returns to the screen after being unavailable for decades. This brilliantly crafted Shakespeare adaptation was the culmination of Welles’s lifelong obsession with the Bard’s ultimate rapscallion, Sir John Falstaff, the loyal, often soused childhood friend to King Henry IV’s wayward son Prince Hal.

Appearing in several plays as a comic supporting figure, Falstaff is here the main event: a robustly funny and ultimately tragic screen antihero played by Welles with towering, lumbering grace. Integrating elements from both Henry IV plays as well as Richard II, Henry V, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, Welles created an unorthodox Shakespeare film that is also a gritty period piece, which he called “a lament . . . for the death of Merrie England.” Poetic, philosophical, and visceral—with a kinetic centerpiece battle sequence as impressive as anything Welles ever directed—??Chimes at Midnight?? is as monumental as the figure at its center.

Chimes at Midnight . . . may be the greatest Shakespearean film ever made, bar none. —VINCENT CANBY, New York Times

He has directed a sequence, the Battle of Shrewsbury, which is unlike anything he has ever done, indeed unlike any battle ever done on the screen before. It ranks with the best of Griffith, John Ford, Eisenstein, Kurosawa—that is, with the best ever done. —PAULINE KAEL

 

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Technical Information

Production Year
1966
Countries of Production
France, Spain, Switzerland
Language
English
Running Time
116 mins

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