The spectacular high contrast, deep focus black-and-white photography and Welles’ punchy editing make this filmed Shakespeare of uncommon vitality. Perhaps most remarkably, given the economy of the production, Chimes at Midnight sports one of cinema’s greatest battle sequences. Inspired by Eisenstein, Welles turns the Battle of Shrewsbury into a barrage of sense impressions, an overwhelming mixture of mist, mud and chaotic brutality.
Thanks to an astonishingly crisp restoration, Orson Welles’ 1965 Shakespearean masterpiece lives anew. Welles gives a mammoth performance as the Bard’s tragic fool Falstaff, along with John Gielgud as Henry IV and Keith Baxter as Hal.