On the brink of Civil War King Henry IV (John Gielgud) attempts to consolidate his reign while fretting with unease over his sons seeming neglect of his royal duties. Hal (Keith Baxter) the young Prince openly consorts with Sir John Falstaff (Orson Welles) and his company of “Diana’s foresters Gentlemen of the shade Minions of the moon”. Hal’s friendship with the fat knight substitutes for his estrangement from his father. Both Falstaff and the King are old and tired; both rely on Hal for comfort in their final years while the young Prince the future Henry V... nurtures his own ambitions. Orson Welles considered Chimes at Midnight his personal favorite of all his films. Perhaps the most radical and groundbreaking of all Shakespeare adaptations the film condenses the Bard’s Henriad cycle into a single focused narrative. Its international cast comprises of Jeanne Moreau Fernando Rey Margaret Rutherford and Ralph Richardson as the narrator in addition to Welles and Gielgud. The film’s harrowing war scenes have proven especially influential cited in Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V as well as Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. [show more]
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Orson Welles's version of five Shakespeare plays, amalgamated and shortened. Welles stars as Shakespeare's recurring character Sir John Falstaff who develops a father-like relationship with Prince Hal (Keith Baxter). But with their kingdom on the brink of civil war, the young prince must decide whether to defend his father King Henry IV (John Gielgud) and accept his royal duties or honour his close friendship with Falstaff.