7.6/10
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10 user 1 critic

Much Ado About Nothing (1973)

Videotape of the Joseph Papp production. Don Pedro and his men (Teddy Roosevelt Roughriders) have returned from the wars. After Beatrice turns down his proposal, Don Pedro decides to ... See full summary »

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Videotape of the Joseph Papp production. Don Pedro and his men (Teddy Roosevelt Roughriders) have returned from the wars. After Beatrice turns down his proposal, Don Pedro decides to matchmake her with Benedick (her former boyfriend), but she being an independent-minded, bicycle-riding Suffragette type, it's going to take a bit of trickery. Meanwhile, Beatrice's cousin, Hero, has fallen in love with Benedick's friend, Claudio. But Don Pedro's bastard half-brother, Don John, plots to split them apart, and Benedick finds himself having to choose between his best friend and the woman he loves. Written by Kathy Li

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Comedy | Romance

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2 February 1973 (USA)  »

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Version of Much Ado About Nothing (2013) See more »

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Borders on Painful
2 November 2006 | by (boston) – See all my reviews

This is a very bland and inert production of one of Shakespeare's most vibrant plays. I can only guess that the intent was to make the play as accessible and understandable as possible to an audience that has not been exposed to Shakespeare before. By doing this, though - by making every line clear and every intent obvious - they have drained the play of life and turned it into a flat caricature. Somehow, it is actually boring - a very hard feat given such wonderful material.

The acting is forgettable at best - Sam Waterston as Benedick and Douglas Watson as Don Pedro. Others, however, do not fare so well. April Shawnham's Hero is a pouty, breathless airhead that frequently provokes winces. Jerry Mayer's Don John is a nonsensical cartoon character on the level of Snidely Whiplash (though Snidley was much more enjoyable).

F. Murray Abraham (you know, the guy who killed Mozart?) is not in this version, unless he was in disguise and had his name removed from the credits.

Given that the producer, Joseph Papp, is basically a theater god, this production is not only disappointing but head-scratching as well.

Don't bother with this. Watch Branagh's Much Ado instead - his version is overflowing with vitality and humor, to say nothing of wonderful performances.


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