Lear is an old man blind to his weaknesses. He decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters according to who recites the best declaration of love. Goneril and Regan pretend to ... See full summary »

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Frederick Warde ...
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J.H. Gilmour ...
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Ernest C. Warde ...
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Lear is an old man blind to his weaknesses. He decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters according to who recites the best declaration of love. Goneril and Regan pretend to love him but treat him cruelly. Cordelia is loyal but, confusing honesty with insolence, he disowns her. Written by Anonymous

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17 December 1916 (USA)  »

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Try reading Cineanalyst's review for some good background information.
20 August 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Considering that Cineanalyst's review talks about the different versions of Lear and the abysmal quality of the Televista print, there isn't a lot of need for me to go over all this again. Suffice to say, this version I am reviewing is the most complete but also an amazingly ugly print--something true of every Televista film I have seen. This company constantly brings the most obscure films to DVD (a major plus) and never restores them in any way--and many are barely watchable. Considering how few people want to see these obscure films, I guess I can understand why no restoration work is done--it's just a shame they are so gosh-darn ugly.

As far as "King Lear" goes, it may seem pretty poor to modern audiences because the acting is occasionally overdone, there is little in the way of suspense (such as Glouchester immediately recognizing his son in the film) and the costumes are mostly wrong (like they are from some Biblical epic). However, despite these limitations, the film is very good for 1916 and the essence of Shakespeare's tale is all here.

I'll be honest--this is the sort of film that would not appeal to most people. But, if you are a cinephile or silent film freak, it's well worth seeing--especially if you compare it to the various other silent versions (I think this one is best). Not without its charms--this one holds up fairly well today.


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