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
The failure of the film to earn a profit in the U.S. during its theatrical release, together with the untimely death of Alexander Korda , who had backed the production of Richard III, effectively ended Olivier's dream of filming Shakespeare as a director. He is accorded the honor of being the greatest Macbeth of the 20th century, but he could never raise the financing to make the film after the financial failure of this film. Michael Todd expressed interest in financing an Olivier version of "Macbeth", but Todd was killed in a plane crash before those ideas could come to fruition. Olivier never again directed a Shakespearean film, possibly the result of the fabled actors' curse attached to "The Scottish Play". See more »
In the scene when Richard tells King Edward of Clarence's supposed treason, two monks are singing hymns from a large book: their lips are not only out of sync with their singing, but with each other. See more »
Many great actors made their names with this Richard, and it turns out to be Olivier's greatest Shakepearean role as well. He captures the whole production coiling his way around the Crown of England: his asides to us through the camera are lovely. They say all actors love to play a villain. Well, it works for me.
The movie is beautiful, rich; the costumes are awesome; and the dialogue, of course, is wonderful. He patches in that great speech from Henry VI, part 3: "Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile . . .": and the movie wouldn't be right without it.
The other actors, Britain's elite of the time, seem to be tyrannized by the boss; and the text should have been edited better, because if you don't know the play and practically the whole history you'll get lost. Not to worry, though; the subplots here aren't really important (but they should be), and the thundering battle at the end will leave you satisfied. Special mention of Sir William Walton's music, the vibrant colors, and of course, England itself.
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