Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 211: Monday August 1

Chimes At Midnight (Welles, 1966): Gate, Notting Hill, 1.20pm

Take the afternoon off. This is a newly restored print, screening as part of Picturehouse Cinemas' "Screen Arts Festival", of what a number of critics think is Orson Welles's greatest film. I haven't seen this for 20 years (and here Geoffrey Macnab details the reasons this masterpiece was lost to audiences) but it was Welles's own favourite and it's easy to understand why.

Time Out review:

'The mongrel heritage of Chimes at Midnight is hard to credit, given the intensely personal reading of English history and literature that emerges from an incongruous Spanish/Swiss co-production of a life of Falstaff culled from five Shakespearean texts and Holinshed's Chronicles. Infused with a politically acute nostalgia for Merrie England, this elegiac tragi-comedy comes over as uncompromisingly modern entertainment, from its playful ruptures of traditional film grammar to its characterisation of Falstaff as hero at the crossroads of history, a spiritual and thematic precursor of Peckinpah's Cable Hogue. Welles waddles through the foreground with an eye on his own problems of patronage, while behind the camera he conjures a dark masterpiece, shot through with slapstick and sorrow. Magic.' Paul Taylor


Here is an extract.

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