Chimes at Midnight (1965) | Review

Sweet Creature of Bombast: Welles’ Restored Homage to Shakespeare’s Ultimate Clown

Before the world finally gets a chance to see Orson Welles’ last uncompleted film The Other Side of the Wind, which had been intended to be the troubled auteur’s return to American filmmaking following a decade in Europe, audiences can feast on a restored version of his final narrative masterpiece, Chimes at Midnight. For decades, the 1965 title has been unavailable and now arrives restored on behalf of Janus Films. Playing in competition at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival, Welles homage to one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comic characters, Sir John Falstaff, initially received a chilly reception and stilted marketing campaign upon hitting Us theaters. Despite a throng of critics attempting to recuperate its reputation since then, it has remained an obscure classic.

Taking place from the years 1400 to 1408 in England, a narrator explains King Henry IV (John Gielgud
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