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The Beggar's Opera (1953)

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When the composer of an opera about a swashbuckling, wenching highwayman meets his hero's real life counterpart he's disappointed with his lack of dash.

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Title: The Beggar's Opera (1953)

The Beggar's Opera (1953) on IMDb 6.1/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
George Rose ...
1st Turnkey
Stuart Burge ...
1st Prisoner
Cyril Conway ...
2nd Prisoner
Gerald Lawson ...
3rd Prisoner
Dorothy Tutin ...
George Devine ...
Mary Clare ...
Edward Pryor ...
Athene Seyler ...
...
Daphne Anderson ...
...
Inn Keeper
Yvonne Furneaux ...
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Storyline

Authentic rendering of John Gay's 18th century musical, filmed in Technicolor, about Captain MacHeath, a highwayman, and his love for too many beautiful women. Betrayed by Jenny and Sukey, two of his bygone lovers, and temporarily freed by two others, MacHeath is arrested and condemned to death. While waiting to be hanged, the captain is entertained by a musical beggar, who has written an opera of which the highwayman is the hero. Written by Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | History | Musical

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 October 1953 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

L'opéra des gueux  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the characters, Dolly Trull, is aptly named as "trull" was an 18th century term for prostitute. See more »

Quotes

The Beggar: You're never Captain MacHeath, sir!
Captain MacHeath: Never Captain MacHeath, sir? At my mother's breast I was Captain MacHeath, sir!
The Beggar: I would rather not think so! You're not at all as I imagined. No... no... no. I've overwritten you. My captain is higher by two or three inches.
Captain MacHeath: Hmmm. Wll, sir, thanks to you I shall be higher this time tomorrow by the height of a hangman's card.
The Beggar: No, Captain, you'd never do. There is more of you in two bars of my opera than there is in your own body.
Captain MacHeath: Well, I'm sorry for it.
The Beggar: [...]
See more »

Connections

Version of The Beggar's Opera (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

In The Days Of My Youth
(Uncredited)
Sung by Dolly Trapes
See more »

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User Reviews

The one Powell and Pressburger didn't make
23 October 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The sad fact about "The Beggar's Opera" is that it wasn't directed by Powell and Pressburger. If this had been the case it would no doubt be lauded today as an eccentric masterpiece. It shared the same fate of critical disdain in its time as "Gone to Earth" and "The Elusive Pimpernel" but, unlike these, has still to await an appreciative resurrection. Could it be that it was made by the comparatively little known Peter Brook! And yet with its colourful visual flair and sometimes breathtaking sense of movement it seems right out of the same stable as "The Tales of Hoffmann" and "Oh Rosalinda!". A wonderfully imaginative shot of the landscape viewed from the scaffold gradually blacked out as the prisoner's blindfold is lowered over MacHeath's eyes is perhaps the best example of its inventiveness. For the musical purist it is inevitably something of a curiosity. A fine cast of contemporary singers including Adele Leigh, Jennifer Vyvyan and Edith Coates were assembled to dub the acting cast for the musical numbers, whereas the main role of MacHeath was sung by Laurence Oliver himself, his light baritone voice, although no match for the others, at least serviceable. But, as it works perfectly well, why quibble. (I have little time for those who criticised the "amateur" voices of Woody Allen's delicious musical "Everyone Says I Love You" as they so matched the characters and were not in the least, as has been suggested, unmusical). I watched "The Beggar's Opera" again the other day after a gap of over 50 years and found it just as refreshing. One of the reasons is that many of the tunes are terrific and not one of them goes on for too long. Generally I have to confess that I have little time for filmed musicals. I invariably want the songs to be got over as quickly as possible in order to get on with the action, which I know completely misses the point. With "The Beggar's Opera" I find the reverse to be true, just about resisting the temptation to fast-forward the dialogue to get to the next "tune". Sir Arthur Bliss did a wonderful job of arranging the music specially for the film version although it has to be admitted that the sound quality of the copy transmitted on Sky's Artsworld channel was often muddy and unclear. Would that the soundtrack could be remastered!


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