Chimes at Midnight (1965)

Chimes at Midnight (1965)

Director: Orson Welles
Starring: Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford

As a companion to the Prince Hal, the Duke of Wales, the debauched knight Sir John Falstaff looks to see his fortunes rise.

This is a movie that was very close to Orson Welles' heart and he was rather fond of the character of Falstaff and it shows. Despite not having a much better budget than his troubled production of Macbeth, more seems to be done with the money available. More classically trained British actors were brought into the cast for this one and I think that helps its regard in many critical eyes. Besides Welles grand showing as Falstaff, I also like John Gielgud as Henry IV and Keith Baxter as Prince Hal. Norman Rodway showed promise as Hotspur, but his character didn't get sufficient development because so much material was cut. For those of you who don't know, the whole Henriad is compressed into two hours and refocused on Falstaff. As Falstaff's story, it certainly takes a tragic tone. I also want to give special mention to the depiction of the Battle of Shrewsbury. Honestly, it's one of the best medieval battle sequences I've seen put to film. Considering the budget, I'm simply amazed something that good managed to get in there. Shakespearean purists may not like this too much because of how much is cut, but fans of Welles ought to see it.

Watch It