Richard's military skills have helped to put his older brother Edward on the throne of England. But jealousy and resentment cause Richard to seek the crown for himself, and he conceives a lengthy and carefully calculated plan using deception, manipulation, and outright murder to achieve his goal. His plotting soon has tumultuous consequences, both for himself and for England. Written by
Hastings's line "The cat, the rat/And Lovell the dog/Rule all England under the hog" is from eighteenth-century actor David Garrick's alteration of the play. See more »
For one shot at the end during the battle scene, right around the famous "My kingdom for a horse!" line, Richard's left hand has all five fingers. During the rest of the movie, Richard only has three fingers on his left hand as part of the character's deformities. See more »
Henry V was said to be Laurence Olivier's greatest screen role for British Propaganda reasons... he inspired England etc. during World War 2; there is no denying it, his Henry is brilliant. But he surpasses his own genius as Richard.
"Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York" just seeing Richard's stooped, deformed figure hobble to the camera like some monstrous spider; to hear those bitter words delivered with such articulate power, and to be penetrated by that stony, constant glare is enough to know that this is no ordinary actor... this is a thespian whose legend will leave generations and generations of actors to come hopeless (teeth gritted) Whatever people say, Kenneth Brannagh will NOT be the next Laurence Olivier!!!
This movie has a fantastic cast: get this! Ralph Richardson AND John Geilgud AND Claire Bloom! Claire Bloom is especially exquisite and I think she plays the soulfully lamenting Lady Anne to perfection. Her scenes with Olivier are great; there is such agitation and irony between the two. I especially like it when he woos her by her husband's tomb... just goes to show how even in a tyrannical role Olivier can still steal a woman's heart with his irresistible seductiveness. She is beautiful and a most accomplished actress; I wonder why she is not better known... is Richard the only Shakespeare film she did????
Geilgud is wonderful as the doomed Clarence, done to death by the scheming Richard; my only disappointment was in Buckingham, played by Ralph Richardson. Richardson left me with a completely wrong impression of Buckingham, who (or so I learn from the play) is not all that different in character from Richard; but is scheming and devious also. Sad to say, (and I have read Olivier admits it so himself) Richardson was cast wrongly as the Duke of Buckingham... he acts too innocent and unsuspecting.
I must also give a technical comment on the camera angle; I would have preferred to be nearer Olivier at some parts of his scenes... that said, I must say I liked the scenes theatrical as such... why are other reviewers always moaning about the costumes and the settings? The costumes I liked, the settings I liked, the music by william walton was great (olivier had good taste in music though he was definitely not a musician himself) and really suited the swiftly changing reflective to agitated moods of the characters.
That said, I believe Laurence Olivier's Richard III to be (with perhaps the exception of his Henry V) the most worthily majestic film ever made in England. The greatest of course, would have been to see such a master of his incandescent talent on stage as Richard since Olivier was finest on stage live, but to be realistic, there is not much of his stage performances recorded, if any, and to be left this masterpiece that Shakespeare himself would have been proud to see performed, is a tribute to the most incredible actor of this century, and most probably, of all time.
28 of 34 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?