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The Essential Orson Welles - Chimes at Midnight

Welles gave himself one of his finest roles as Shakespeare’s immortal fool Falstaff in this moving historical drama that combines material from several of the Bard’s plays in what is considered one of the greatest Shakespeare films ever made, with battle scenes that are still inspiring filmmakers today. 

Orson Welles and Keith Baxter in CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, 1966.

Welles surrounded himself with an impeccable cast, including Keith Baxter as Prince Hal, Jeanne Moreau as Doll Tearsheet, Margaret Rutherford as Hostess Quickly, Fernando Rey as Worcester and John Gielgud as King Henry IV. Critics have long been in agreement over the movie’s glories, with Roger Ebert calling it “a film to treasure” and Dave Kehr terming it “the one Welles film that deserves to be called lovely.” Pauline Kael, not exactly a knee-jerk defender of Welles, rhapsodized over the Battle of Shrewsbury sequence as “unlike anything he has ever done, indeed unlike any battle ever done on the screen before. It ranks with the best of Griffith, John Ford, Eisenstein, Kurosawa — that is, with the best ever done.”

1966, 115 minutes, black and white, 35mm | Written by Orson Welles, based on the plays by William Shakespeare; directed by Orson Welles; with Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford, John Gielgud, Keith Baxter.

Screen legend Orson Welles was a pioneering filmmaker and raffish public personality, best known for the remarkable achievement of Citizen Kane. This series presented by the Academy will focus on Welles as a trailblazing director, presenting nine of the 11 films completed in his lifetime (several of them screening in brand-new restorations). As a body of work, these films – from the serene grandeur of The Magnificent Ambersons to the noir intrigue of The Lady from Shanghai and Touch of Evil – reveal the dexterity and inventiveness of Welles's craftsmanship. The series will offer examples of his dazzling technical expertise, such as overlapping dialogue, potent bursts of montage and bravura cinematography, and explore the themes that fascinated him, from anti-heroes corrupted by power to the dangers of pursuing uncomfortable truths. These films are a testament to Welles the tireless visionary, who, whether in the lap of studio luxury or exiled in Zagreb, approached each motion picture as a mystery that only he could unravel.

The series runs from May 3 through June 7. For more screenings, please visit our Events page.


Event Information

Saturday, June 7 at 5:00 p.m.
Bing Theater
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

$5 general admission
$3 Academy members, LACMA Film Club members and students with a valid ID.

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