Blu-ray, DVD Release: Chimes at Midnight

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Aug. 30, 2016
Price: DVD $29.99, Blu-ray $27.95
Studio: Criterion


The crowning achievement of Orson Welles’s (F for Fake) extraordinary film career, the 1966 drama Chimes at Midnight was the culmination of the filmmaker’s lifelong obsession with Shakespeare’s ultimate rapscallion, Sir John Falstaff.

Chimes1_optUsually a comic supporting figure, Falstaff—the loyal, often soused friend of King Henry IV’s wayward son Prince Hal—here becomes the focus: a robustly funny and ultimately tragic screen antihero played by Welles with looming, lumbering grace. Integrating elements from both Henry IV plays as well as Richard II, Henry V, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, Welles created a gritty and unorthodox Shakespeare film, one that he intended, he said, as “a lament . . . for the death of Merrie England.”

Poetic, philosophical, and visceral—with a kinetic centerpiece battle sequence that rivals anything else in the director’s body of work—Chimes at Midnight is as monumental as the figure at its heart.

Criterion’s Blu-ray and DVD editions of the movie contain the following features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring film scholar James Naremore, author of The Magic World of Orson Welles
  • New interview with actor Keith Baxter
  • New interview with director Orson Welles’s daughter Beatrice Welles, who appeared in the film at age seven
  • New interview with actor and Welles biographer Simon Callow
  • New Interview with film historian Joseph McBridge, author of What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?
  • Interview with Welles while at work editing the film, from a 1965 episode of The Merv Griffin Show
  • Trailer
Buy or Rent Chimes at Midnight
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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.