Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Review of Welles' "Chimes At Midnight"

With a resurgence of interest in Orson Welles' "Chimes At Midnight," this 2009 essay on the film might be of interest. At the time, the film was available on YouTube, but those with early memories of the site may recall that no one could post a clip longer than 10 minutes. You had to watch the film in 11 parts. It was certainly not ideal, but it did give those of us who had always wanted to see the film a chance to have a look. Even in this tiny format, the film was formidable. It is satisfying to see, less than a decade after this rudimentary screening, the world is now welcoming "Chimes At Midnight" and it is being shown all over the world. It is recognized as one of the great films — if not, perhaps, the greatest — by Welles. It is certainly one of the most exhuberant and evocative films ever made from a work by Shakespeare. — Lars Trodson

Here, from April 14, 2009, is my review:

Remembrance Of Things Past: "Chimes At Midnight" by Orson Welles

By Lars Trodson

Orson Welles was the most nostalgic of the modernists. 

He was recognized for the way he told a story, not for the stories he invariably chose to tell. "Citizen Kane" is pulpy, after all, and steeped in the past. It was elevated by the elegance and vision of the photography and acting, and the wit of the screenplay. And then came "The Magnificent Ambersons," (1942) which mourned the loss of a more innocent America at just the time when Americans were fighting for their way of life. “The Stranger" gave audiences a view of small town life disrupted by a Nazi scourge. “Touch of Evil” reeks of the past. All of these are potboilers, and all are graced with great cinematic flair. Welles was creating a new vocabulary for movies, but almost strictly from a visual point of view. Other than through the visual medium, he did not have anything terribly new to say.

Friday, January 1, 2016