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King Lear (1971)
"Korol Lir" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  6 August 1975 (USA)
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 836 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 12 critic

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »

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, (Russian translation, 1949), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Jüri Järvet ...
King Lear (as Yuri Yarvet)
Elza Radzina ...
Goneril (as E. Radzina)
Galina Volchek ...
Regan (as G. Volchek)
Valentina Shendrikova ...
Cordelia (as V. Shendrikova)
Oleg Dal ...
Fool (as O. Dal)
Karlis Sebris ...
Gloster (as K. Sebris)
Leonhard Merzin ...
Edgar (as L. Merzin)
Regimantas Adomaitis ...
Edmund (as R. Adomaytis)
Vladimir Yemelyanov ...
Kent (as V. Yemelyanov)
Aleksandr Vokach ...
Cornwall (as A. Vokach)
Donatas Banionis ...
Albany (as D. Banionis)
Aleksey Petrenko ...
Oswald (as A. Petrenko)
Juozas Budraitis ...
King of France (as I. Budraytis)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Roman Gromadskiy ...
(as R. Gromadsky)
Nikolay Kuzmin ...
(as N. Kuzmin)
Edit

Storyline

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly flatter the old man in return for favor, he banishes her and turns for support to his remaining daughters. But Goneril and Regan have no love for him and instead plot to take all his power from him. In a parallel, Lear's loyal courtier Gloucester favors his illegitimate son Edmund after being told lies about his faithful son Edgar. Madness and tragedy befall both ill-starred fathers. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

6 August 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

King Lear  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Grigori Kozintsev made this version of the play at the same time that Peter Brook was filming King Lear (1971), and the two directors corresponded with each other throughout shooting. See more »

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Version of Kung Lear (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A finer version than that of Laurence Olivier!
1 September 2000 | by (Trivandrum, Kerala, India) – See all my reviews

Black and white cinematography of Gritsius, the music of Shostakovich and the enigmatic face of Jarvet, make all other versions of King Lear smaller in stature. Lord Olivier himself acknowledged the stark brilliance of this film. Oleg Dal's fool lends a fascinating twist to the character. The "Christian Marxism" of Kozintsev can knock-out any serious student of cinema and Shakespeare.

Kozintsev is one of least sung masters of Russian cinema. His cinema is very close to that of Tarkovsky and Sergei Paradjanov. Kozintsev's Lear is not a Lear that mourns his past and his daughters--his Lear is close to the soil, the plants, and all elements of nature. That's what makes Kozintsev's Shakespearean works outstanding.

I fell in love with Kozintsev's King Lear some 30 years ago and I continue to be enraptured by the black-and-white film shot in cinemascope each time I see it. Each time you view the film, one realizes that a creative genius can embellish another masterpiece from another medium by providing food for thought---much beyond what Shakespeare offered his audiences centuries ago. Purists like Lord Laurence Olivier and Peter Brook offered cinematic versions of the play that remained true to what the Bard originally intended, only refining performances within the accepted matrices.

But Kozintsev's cinema based on the Russian translation of Nobel laureate Boris Pasternak added a "silent ghost" that was always present in Shakespeare's play—nature. Mother nature is present as a visual and aural force in the two Shakespeare films of Kozintsev, more so in King Lear. Shakespeare had intended to draw parallels in nature and human beings—only Kozintsev saw the opportunity in highlighting this. The team of Kozintsev and Pasternak took another liberty—the last shot of the film includes the Fool playing his pipe, while the Bard had got rid of the Fool in Act IV of the play. Kozintsev had more than one reason for it—the Fool is akin to the chorus of Greek stage and much of Dmitri Shostakovich's haunting musical score for the film involved woodwind instruments. Further, the poor, beyond the portals of the army and the courts, occupy "screen-space" never intended in the play. Kozintsev and Pasternak remained true to the basic structure of Shakespeare only adding details that offer astounding food for thought.

I recommend this version to serious viewers. Don't miss this little known classic.


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