|Internacional Films Escolano/Alpine|
|Orson Welles: Falstaff|
|Keith Baxter: Prince Hal/Henry V|
|John Gielgud: Henry IV|
|Norman Rodway: Harry Percy, aka Hotspur|
|Jeanne Moreau: Doll Tearsheet|
|Margaret Rutherford: Mistress Quickly|
|Marina Vlady: Kate Percy|
|Alan Webb: Shallow|
|Fernando Rey: Worcester|
|Ralph Richardson: Narrator|
|Director, Script: Orson Welles|
|Photography: Edmond Richard|
|Music: Francesco Lavagnino|
|Editor: Fritz Mueller|
The story of Falstaff, as related by Welles in Chimes at Midnight (aka Falstaff), is a project that stayed close to Welles' heart for much of his career. Welles' initial attempt at staging the story of Falstaff came in the ambitious, yet fatally flawed theatrical production Five Kings. Five Kings boiled down elements of Shakespeare's Henry IV duology, Henry V, Henry VI trilogy and Richard III into two evenings. The production, which also included Burgess Meredith as Prince Hal, had its moments but was bogged down by unwieldy staging and closed before reaching Broadway. The project lay dormant until 1960, when Welles revisited the idea in a revamped version, focusing on the first half of Five Kings and its emphasis on Falstaff, this time retitled Chimes at Midnight. This version, staged in Dublin, again failed but provided a dry run of sorts for the film version that followed five years later.
In the film, Welles battled technical limitations and a low budget to produce one of his finest works. Despite a superb cast, including Keith Baxter, John Gielgud and Jeanne Moreau, the film failed to do much business, and its technical limitations hindered mainstream acceptance. The film remains a remarkable achievement, with Welles' virtuoso editing producing the incredible battle scene, referenced in later films such as Kenneth Branagh's Henry V (1989).
Technical problems with the soundtrack provide critics with an easy target for downgrading the film, and the lack of any affordable, high quality home video release has hurt the chances for this film to reach a wider audience. An excellent DVD has been released in Spain, and hopefully the DVD revolution will spur a release in other parts of the world as well.
Click the link below for on-set photos taken by Bruno Yasoni, who appeared in the film, along with his brother, as extras.
German Release Lobby Cards
German lobby card