Omnibus: Season 2, Episode 3

King Lear (18 Oct. 1953)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama, History, Music
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 121 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 7 critic

An old king, stepping down from the throne, disinherits his favorite daughter on a mad whim and gives his kingdom to his two older daughters, both of whom prove treacherous.



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Title: King Lear (18 Oct 1953)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Natasha Parry ...
Arnold Moss ...
Bramwell Fletcher ...
David J. Stewart ...
Margaret Phillips ...
Alan Badel ...
Micheál MacLiammóir ...
Poor Tom (as Micheal MacLiammoir)
Frederick Worlock ...
Fred Sadoff ...
Lloyd Bochner ...
First Gentleman
Chris Gampel ...
First Servant


Based on Shakespeare's play: King Lear of Britain has decided to divide his kingdom into three parts, and to hand over the responsibilities of ruling to his three daughters. The two oldest daughters, Goneril and Regan, flatter their father insincerely, and are rewarded. Cordelia, the youngest, sincerely loves her father, but she cannot match her sisters' skill at false adulation - so Lear takes away her portion of the kingdom, despite the pleadings of some of his most loyal nobles. It is not long before Goneril and Regan reveal their deep ingratitude, and soon the old king finds himself in a confusing and desperate position. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

daughter | king | father | sister | map | See All (43) »


Drama | History | Music





Release Date:

18 October 1953 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This adaptation of William Shakespeare's play cuts out the subplot involving Edmund, Edgar and their father, the Earl of Gloucester. Edmund's character is merged into that of Oswald (David J. Stewart). Tom o' Bedlam (Micheál MacLiammóir) appears, but we never learn, as in the original play, that "Tom" is only a guise for Edgar. Key scenes involving Gloucester (Frederick Worlock), including his blinding, are retained, but only as they directly relate to the main plot. No mention is made of his having sons. See more »


Orson Welles reverses the wording of one line in Act IV, Scene vii. Instead of "You have some cause, they have not," Welles says, "They have some cause, you have not," which completely reverses the meaning of the line. See more »


Version of Le roi Lear (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Awesome Orson
9 November 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I'm astonished firstly that this cleverly shortened 'King Lear' was presented LIVE on TV more than 50 years ago, and secondly that the occasion was recorded and can be seen on video. Of course, the sets and costumes are pretty rudimentary, but the storm and shelter scenes are imaginative and there's nothing wrong with the acting. Orson Welles, despite his false nose and enormous beard, is a splendid Lear, who starts well and gets better and better - the more regal as he learns humility - and becomes very moving. Alan Badel is a marvellous Fool, Micheal MacLiammoir a fine Poor Tom (divorced from Edgar, absent in this version)and the Goneril, Regan, Albany, Kent and Gloucester are all very fine. Oswald takes over the character of Edmund to surprisingly good effect. Welles was a great Macbeth, a magnificent Othello and, on this showing, a classic Lear. Let's be grateful for his mighty talent.

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