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DVD (Special Edition / Wide Screen / Subtitled)

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The legendary Shakespearean character Sir John Falstaff, the notoriously drunken, obese, and yet charming companion of the young Henry V, steps up from supporting character in several plays to the central focus of Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight, considered by many critics the best of the director's acclaimed Shakespeare films. The script borrows scenes from several plays, but draws most heavily on the two parts of Henry IV, focusing on the shifting relationship between Falstaff and Prince Hal. Beginning as the prince's companion in debauchery and idleness, the corpulent jokester finds himself falling out of favor as the prince comes to terms with the importance of his destiny as England's future leader. While Falstaff's ample wit is still much in evidence, the film places greater emphasis on the tragic character beneath all the joviality, with Welles perfectly embodying this mixture of spiritually youthful prankster and sad adult. While his towering performance naturally takes center stage, the other cast members are also superb. The film's visual elements are also strong, with Welles' attention to composition matching his sensitivity to character. There are technical imperfections due to the film's extremely limited budget, including an inconsistent soundtrack, but they are unable to overshadow the film's many achievements.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/30/2016
UPC: 0715515184410
Original Release: 1966
Rating: NR
Source: Criterion
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Wide Screen]
Time: 1:56:00
Sales rank: 968

Special Features

New high-definition digital restoration; Audio Commentary featuring film scholar James Naremore, author of The Magic World of Orson Welles; New interview with actor Keith Baxter; New Interview with Director Orson Welle's daughter Beatrice Welles, who appeared in the film at age nine; New Interview with actor and Welles biographer Simon Callow; New Interview with film historian Joseph McBride, author of What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?; Interview with Welles while at work editing the film, from a 1965 episode of The Merv Griffin Show; Trailer; Plus: An essay by film scholar Michael Anderegg

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Orson Welles Sir John (Jack) Falstaff
John Gielgud Henry IV of England
Jeanne Moreau Doll Tearsheet
Norman Rodway Henry Percy, "Hotspur"
Keith Baxter Prince Hal
Margaret Rutherford Hostess Quickly
Marina Vlady Kate Percy
Alan Webb Shallow
Walter Chiari Mr. Silence
Patrick Bedford Bardolph
Charles Farrell Actor
Andrew Faulds Westmoreland
Julio Pena Actor
Keith Pyott Actor
Jeremy Rowe Prince John
Beatrice Welles Falstaff's Page
Michael Aldridge Pistol
Tony Beckley Poins
José Nieto Northumberland
Ingrid Pitt Actor
Fernando Rey Worcester
Ralph Richardson Narrator

Technical Credits
Orson Welles Director,Screenwriter
Jose Antonio de la Guerra Art Director
Carlo Franci Musical Direction/Supervision
Angelo Francesco Lavagnino Score Composer
Cornejo Madrid Costumes/Costume Designer
Fritz Muller Editor
Emiliano Piedra Producer
Gustavo Quintana Production Designer
Edmond Richard Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Chimes at Midnight
1. "Jesus, the Days We Have Seen!" [1:51]
2. Opening Credits [1:10]
3. "King Richard II Was Murdered..." [4:22]
4. "How Now, Who Picked Me Pocket?" [5:57]
5. "Our Plot Is A Good Plot, As Ever Was Laid?" [3:56]
6. "Zounds, Will They Not Rob Us?" [3:15]
7. "Can No Man Tell Me Of My Unfilthy Son?" [1:34]
8. "A Plague On All Cowards!" [5:36]
9. "Shall We Have a Play Extempore?" [5:41]
10. "Call In The Sheriff" [4:22]
11. "For Thou Hast Loast Thy Princely Privilege" [3:42]
12. "Methinks Your Soldiers Are Exceeding Poor" [4:29]
13. "Justice Shallow?" [6:09]
14. "We Offer Fair. Take It Advisedly" [4:31]
15. "Saint George and England!" [5:34]
16. "Thou Hast Robbed Me Of My Youth" [3:28]
17. "Thus Ever Did Rebellion Find Rebuke" [:36]
18. "Uneasy Lies The Head That Wears A Crown" [4:39]
19. "Pistol!" [6:03]
20. "I Did Not Think Thou Wast Within Hearing" [4:59]
21. "Where Is The Crown?" [8:19]
22. "What, Is The Old King Dead?" [9:23]
23. "I Speak To Thee, My Heart!" [3:29]
24. "He's In Arthur's Bosom" [6:34]
25. End Credits [5:04]
1. Introduction [1:51]
2. Nostalgia [1:10]
3. The Wars of the Roses [4:22]
4. The Wars of the Roses, Continued [5:57]
5. A Double Plot [3:56]
6. Tragic Figures [3:15]
7. Casting Gielgud [1:34]
8. A Romantic View of Falstaff [5:36]
9. The Play Within The Play [5:41]
10. A Mobile Camera [4:22]
11. Low Angles [3:42]
12. Beginnings of the Battle Scene [4:29]
13. The Grotesque in Shakespeare [6:09]
14. The Influence of John Ford [4:31]
15. Welle's Editing in the Battle Scene [5:34]
16. Hal's Eulogy [3:28]
17. Falstaff Goes Too Far [:36]
18. A Great Period Director [4:39]
19. Jean Moreau [6:03]
20. A Shakespeare's Device [4:59]
21. Hal's Ambitions/Rearranging Shakespeare [8:19]
22. A Masterful Long Take [9:23]
23. Welle's Finest Acting [3:29]
24. A Eulogy for Falstaff [6:34]
25. Welle's Finest Film? [5:04]
1. Color Bars [1:21]
Disc #2 -- Chimes at Midnight
1. Chapter 1 [29:21]
2. Chapter 2 [:25]
1. Chapter 1 [14:13]
2. Chapter 2 [:25]
1. Chapter 1 [31:13]
2. Chapter 2 [:25]
1. Chapter 1 [26:16]
2. Chapter 2 [:26]
1. Chapter 1 [11:06]

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