7.7/10
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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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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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I personally did like it
4 September 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Much Ado About Nothing as a play is hugely enjoyable and very charming. And I have to say I really liked this version. Is it as good as the Kenneth Branagh film? Not for me. However, it does deserve to stand on its own, as Branagh's is a film and this was a TV version so they are different mediums. I personally don't think this version is perfect, Branagh's film does do a better job at making us believe that Claudio could be tricked by Don John, and I personally- and I'm putting emphasis on the personally- didn't care all that much for John Meyer's rather cartoonish Don John. However if there are assets I do prefer it is that "your Hero, his Hero, everyman's Hero", which has always brought a lump to my throat, is not cut and the performance of Dogberry, Barnard Hughes is funnier and much more subtle, and he is just terrific in general. This Much Ado About Nothing does look great, the scenery and costumes are sumptuous and it is beautifully shot as well. The music is pleasant and lilting, though I can imagine it being even more vivid live. There are some effective scenes, the love/hate sparring between Beatrice and Benedick is very funny in its wit and the scene where Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into thinking one loves the other is lovely to watch and the visual humour with Benedick drawing closer is inspired. Generally, the performances are fine. Along with Hughes, the best of the cast were Sam Waterson as a handsome and aristocratic Benedick and Kathleen Widdowes as an intelligent and witty Beatrice. Their chemistry is really wonderful. Douglas Watson is also a noble Don Pedro, Mark Hammer is likable as the father figure Leonato and April Shawnham's Hero is lovely. Some may find her bland, but in a way Hero is a bland character in comparison to Beatrice, Benedick and Pedro. Likewise with Claudio, who is also competently performed without standing out in the same way. All in all, I liked the 1973 version very much but I didn't love it. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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