CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT
aka FALSTAFF
1965, Janus Films, 115 min, Dir: Orson Welles

Writer-director Orson Welles once said of this lifelong passion project, “If I wanted to get into heaven on the basis of one movie, that's the one I would offer up.” Embroiled in rights issues for decades, this magnificent Shakespearean adaptation draws from five plays in the bard’s “War of the Roses” cycle. Welles stars as Sir John Falstaff, an errant knight who enjoys carousing with Prince Hal (Keith Baxter), only to be rejected by him when Hal becomes King Henry V. The mud-soaked re-creation of the Battle of Shrewsbury is one of several bravura sequences here, and the superb cast includes John Gielgud, Jeanne Moreau and Fernando Rey.


THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY
LE FANTÔME DE LA LIBERTÉ
1974, Rialto Pictures, 104 min, France/Italy, Dir: Luis Buñuel

Surreal even by Buñuel standards, this loosely connected series of Monty Pythonesque sketches thumbs its nose at the conventions of storytelling as well as those of bourgeois society. Buñuel and co-writer Jean-Claude Carrière dream up dirty pictures of French architecture, poker-playing monks, celebrity snipers, fox-hunting tanks and more, setting the table for a banquet of free-wheeling satire. In French with English subtitles.


AND HOPE TO DIE
LA COURSE DU LIÈVRE À TRAVERS LES CHAMPS
1972, CCFC, 99 min, France, Dir: René Clement

This adaptation of David Goodis’ novel Black Friday concerns a crook on the lam (Jean Louis Trintignant) who crosses paths with a Montreal gang plotting a big score - led by noir stalwarts Robert Ryan and Aldo Ray. “Froggy” (as Ryan dubs our hero) decides to join in the heist and, of course, ends up neck-deep in danger. An odd and invigorating French-Canadian-American production, this is a rarely screened homage to noir on both the page and screen, sparked by a devilish script from author Sébastien Japrisot (The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun). English dubbed version.


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