Great Performances

King Lear (20 Feb. 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Biography | Drama | Music
8.4
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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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Title: King Lear (20 Feb 1974)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Douglass Watson ...
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Edmund (as Raúl Juliá)
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Rosalind Cash ...
Lee Chamberlin ...
Ellen Holly ...
Robert Stattel ...
Robert Lanchester ...
Lou Quinones ...
Burgundy (as Louis Quinones)
Jean-Pierre Stewart ...
France
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Edgar
Frederick Coffin ...
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...
Gentleman
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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>

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20 February 1974 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Paul Sorvino's TV debut. See more »

Connections

Version of King Lear (1987) See more »

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Viewable because of Jones.
27 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Not an altogether excellent production. Many cast members don't seem 100% suited to their character or particularly invested. The Fool just sort of spouts his lines, which is unfortunate because his character is so integral to the play's message, Raul Julia as Edmund seems bored with his character or striving too hard for deadpan, and the daughters are just bad across the board. But James Earl Jones' Lear is an absolute revelation. It's difficult to believe this is a live performance, because he hits every dramatic note so precisely and throws himself so recklessly into the role that you can scarcely believe it when he's able to do it again in the next scene. He gets totally lost in the character and when watching this performance we forget he is the vigorous, majestic, noble James Earl Jones and totally accept him as the belligerent, feeble, arrogant King Lear.


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