To call Chimes at Midnight (aka Falstaff) Orson Welles’s crowning achievement is tantamount to naming it the greatest movie ever made.
The film never found a home on DVD — there’s a dupe pressing in circulation — making it next to impossible to see since its release in 1965. It’s been over 40 years since I saw the film in its entirety. I had access to a 16mm dupe with a muddled soundtrack, characteristic of every pressing. Years before home video became the main mode of exhibition, the chances of seeing the film again anytime soon weren’t promising. I spent a Sunday watching it three times and have been pining for another viewing ever since.
Chimes at Midnight
There’s a copy in my DVD library, but I can’t bring myself to watch a bootleg of a film that can’t possibly exist anywhere but on a giant theater screen. Thanks to Landmark’s Week of Film Classics at the Ken, we’ll all have a chance to see the film projected in its restored glory.
The series, running from April 1–7, showcases seven films commencing with the April Fool’s Day presentation of Mel Brooks’ Yiddish oater, Blazing Saddles, followed by Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (April 2), Chimes at Midnight (April 3), Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (for the umpteenth time on April 4), Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca (for the zillionth time on April 5), Roman Polanski’s MacBeth (April 6), and the European cut of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (April 7).
Landmark was kind enough to forward a screener of Chimes. The ten minutes I watched on television looked like 3D compared to every pressing that’s come before. And for once I wasn’t straining to hear the dialog. You will not see anything in a theater this year (or for many years to come) that will rival the magnitude of this picture. Don’t miss it!
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For showtimes and more information visit Landmark Theatres.