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.


BAY OF ANGELS
LA BAIE DES ANGES
1963, Janus Films, 79 min, France, Dir: Jacques Demy

One of director Jacques Demy's darker and more melancholy efforts, his second feature (following his triumphant debut, LOLA) tells the story of a vacationing bank clerk (Claude Mann) who gets involved with compulsive gambler Jeanne Moreau. The characters are surrounded by lush settings - the film takes place against the backdrop of Nice casinos and beaches - yet the obsessive behavior and gray cinematography undercut the glamour at every ironic moment. Legend has it that Jacques Demy wrote the script for this classic in three days during a production delay on THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG! Michel Legrand’s music is haunting. In French with English subtitles.


TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI
1954, Rialto Pictures, 88 min, France, Dir: Jacques Becker

Aging gangster Jean Gabin is sitting on a fortune in gold from a perfect heist - but sleazeball Lino Ventura decides he wants in on the action, with the help of double-crossing chorus girl Jeanne Moreau. This exquisite noir was passed over by the Cannes Film Festival because "it gave the wrong idea of French cinema" - it went on to become a huge hit and inspired a wave of crack crime films like BOB LE FLAMBEUR and RIFIFI. In French with English subtitles.


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