Orson Welles on Set: Behind the scenes of CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT by Nicolas Tikhomiroff
After recently viewing the Movies Unlimited DVD-R of Falstaff, I was impressed (yet again) by Orson Welles's Shakespearian masterpiece, and all the many details it contains---which I had either forgotten about or never even noticed before.
As Welles remarked, "I think a film should be full of things, details that one does not see the first time. It ought not to be entirely obvious. There should always be something else to see if you go again."
So if anyone reading this hasn't seen Falstaff, you need to see it right now. Immediately! I can't describe it to anyone. You have to go look at it and describe it to yourself. It is an absolutely marvelous melding of Shakespeare’s words with Welles’s unique visual style. A collaboration between the greatest author in the English language, as interpreted by the greatest director in the history of the cinema. What more could anyone possibly ask for?
You can order a DVD-R copy from Movies Unlimited Ebay site for only $18.00 (plus shipping) HERE. While this DVD-R has no extras, it is a very nice transfer, which is of slightly better quality than the Spanish DVD.
What I also found interesting, is even though the film was not a success when it first came out, it may be one of the most extensively documented films that Welles ever made. There are a huge number of behind the scenes photos of Falstaff taken by Nicolas Tikhomiroff, a Magnum photographer who first become friends with Welles while taking pictures on the set of The Trial. Tikhomiroff appears to have been present throughout the making of Falstaff and 71 of his incredible images, many in gorgeous color, can be viewed online at the Magnum Photo site HERE.
Several of these shots also have appeared in photo books, including the lavish Phaidon volume, Magnum Cinema, but given the quality and depth of Tikhomiroff's work documenting the making of Welles's movies, as well as the many stars who appeared in them, it seems rather unbelievable that a photo book of Tikhomiroff's work with Welles has never been published. Besides Falstaff and The Trial, Tikhomiroff also was invited by Welles to shoot photos for The Deep.
What is also bizarre, is that according to one report (perhaps apocryphal), many of Tikhomiroff's photos might have been lost to us forever. Apparently, Tikhomiroff buried the negatives for many of his Welles pictures in the the garden of his house in Provance, in the south of France after he retired in 1987. Luckily, when a researcher from Paris asked to see the pictures, they were dug up and finally came to light.
Now, what some savvy publisher (perhaps Phaidon), needs to do is
come out with a book such as this:
ORSON WELLES ON SET
Photographs behind the scenes of The Trial, Falstaff and The Deep
By Nicolas Tikhomiroff.