FREE May 21st: Orson Welles in The Chimes at Midnight on the (semi-)Big Screen!

Orson Welles at the Maryland Shakespeare miniplex

So’ it’s been decided that the First Shakespearean movie for the “First NeverAnnual Maryland Shakespeare Movie Night” is… Falstaff – The Chimes at Midnight! One that I own, but have chosen not to watch, until I could do so with others who might appreciate  this Bardic experience. I’m actually quite excited to see The Chimes at Midnight, a movie which is often considered Orson Welles finest, as Roger Ebert stated in his review:

” This is a magnificent film, clearly among Welles’ greatest work, joining “Citizen Kane,” “The Magnificent Ambersons,” “Touch of Evil” and (I would argue) “The Trial.” It is also magnificent Shakespeare, focusing on Falstaff through the two “Henry IV” plays to his offstage death in “Henry V.” Although the plays are much abridged, it is said there is not a word in the film not written by Shakespeare.”

Link: Review of Chimes at Midnight (1965)

Directed and staring Orson Wells as Falstaff, and Sir John Gielgud as Henry IV, this movie spans the scope of several Shakespearean histories, mostly focusing on Henry IV parts I and II, but also grabs parts from Richard II, Henry V and The Merry Wives Of Windsor.

The Chimes at Midnight  is considered a rage gem, and a lost classic due to the fact that it has not been in any kind of wide release relating to various copyright and legal issues. Which is why I, among so many others, have never seen, nor heard about this movie.. But thanks to the internet making the world all that much smaller, it is no longer impossible to find it anymore. All you have to do is bounce over to Amazon UK and grab a copy for example.

So if you’re interested in seeing Orson Welles as Falstaff in “The Chimes at Midnight, just follow the links to the  DC-area Shakespeare explorers  at Meetup.com for details.

Links:  DC-area Shakespeare explorers for more details

IMDB: The Chimes at Midnight

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimes_at_midnight

Remember, don’t take live Shakespeare in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland for Granted

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