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By adding a hint of gravitas, Welles gives Falstaff genuine pathos instead of pure buffoonery. 15th Century England is credibly recreated (or at least faked); very impressive for what is evidently a low budget film. Nice to see Gielgud as something other than Arthur's butler.
This is probably my favorite filmed Shakespeare adaptation and my fourth-favorite Welles film after Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil and The Magnificent Ambersons. The battle sequence was amazing. The dvd available from Mr. Bongo Films was surprisingly good. Here's hoping for an even better restoration and Blu-ray release down the line.
A fucking Welles masterpiece, 1.000.000 superior to all the Citizen Kanes combined.
This and F for Fake: no. 1 Welles.
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Currently in 11 official lists, but has been in 16