Sir John Falstaff (the Shakespearian character superbly portrayed by Orson Welles), is a charming although drunken and obese companion of young Henry V. At first Prince Hal and Falstaff lead a life of debauchery and idleness, but as the prince sees the import of his destiny as the future king of England, Falstaff fearfully believes their relationship might be heading for trouble. Welles’ marvelous portrayal of this jovial but tragic character and strong acting throughout make Chimes at Midnight an exceptionally worthwhile film. —Hollywood’s Attic
The prodigy son of an inventor and a musician, Welles was well-versed in literature at an early age, particularly Shakespeare, and, through the unusual circumstances of his life (both of his parents died by the time he was 12, leaving him with an inheritance and not many family obligations), he found himself free to indulge his numerous interests, which included the theater. He was educated in private schools and traveled the world. He found it tougher to get onto the Broadway stage, and get a job with Katharine Cornell. He later became associated with John Houseman, and, together, the two of them set the New York theater afire during the 1930s with their work for the Federal Theatre Project, which led to the founding of the Mercury Theater. The Mercury Players later graduated to radio, and their 1938 “War of the Worlds” broadcast made history when thousands of listeners mistakenly believed aliens had landed on Earth. In 1940, Hollywood beckoned, and Welles and company went west to… read more
Boring as most Welles are, tecnically top-notch - as most Welles are - sometimes one sleeps, sometimes one laughs so hard one's sides split, the battle was awesome. I was taught how to do to a lot with few, still this is welles, how can one post-post modernistic film student match this? Can't.
On location in Spain with an international cast, it's a miracle that this adaptation of Shakespeare's plays featuring Falstaff didn't turn into another unfinished project for Welles. He was in poor health at the time but against the odds the amateur magician conjured up one of his finest films as a director. Shot with imagination and flair on a tight budget, this has to be Orson's finest interpretation of the Bard...
I found this a little slow for the first hour, as Falstaff's humor escapes me. All in all I did enjoy the movie, esp. the camera work and lighting. The tragedy of great friends who have been thrown away it timeless, and possibly personal... I would like to know what plays this movie was taken from.
This film has possibly the most flawless cinematography I’ve ever seen. Not to mention the fantastic acting, and the battle scene is just superbly articulated, on par with that of Eisenstein Alexander… read review
To many this is Welles’ best film and not that big movie he made at RKO in the early 40s. CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT is an adaptation of the Henriad, Four History plays beginning from Richard II extending… read review