7.6/10
142
9 user

Measure for Measure (1979)

When the Duke of Vienna takes a mysterious leave of absence and leaves the strict Angelo in charge, things couldn't be worse for Claudio, who is sentenced to death for premarital sex. His ... See full summary »

Director:

Writer:

(play)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Contemporary re-working of the Shakespeare's problem play set in the British army.

Director: Bob Komar
Stars: Josephine Rogers, Daniel Roberts, Simon Phillips
Othello (TV Movie 1981)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A general becomes convinced that his wife is having an affair, even though there is no evidence.

Director: Jonathan Miller
Stars: Anthony Pedley, Bob Hoskins, Geoffrey Chater
Macbeth (TV Movie 1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Macbeth and his wife murder Duncan in order to gain his crown, but the bloodbath doesn't stop there, and things supernatural combine to bring the Macbeths down.

Director: Jack Gold
Stars: Brenda Bruce, Eileen Way, Anne Dyson
Romeo & Juliet (TV Movie 1978)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Two teenagers fall in love, but their feuding families and fate itself cause the relationship to end in tragedy.

Director: Alvin Rakoff
Stars: Patrick Ryecart, Rebecca Saire, Celia Johnson
Julius Caesar (TV Movie 1979)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The assassination of the would be ruler of Rome at the hands of Brutus and company has tragic consequences for Brutus and the republic.

Director: Herbert Wise
Stars: Richard Pasco, Charles Gray, Keith Michell
The Tempest (TV Movie 1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Exiled Prospero lives on a desolate island with his daughter, Miranda. When Prospero's usurping brother sails by the island, Prospero conjures a storm that wrecks the ship and changes all of their lives.

Director: John Gorrie
Stars: Michael Hordern, Derek Godfrey, David Waller
Twelfth Night (TV Movie 1980)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Viola and Sebastian are lookalike twins, separated by a shipwreck. Viola lands in Illyria, where she disguises herself like her brother and goes into the service of the Duke Orsino. Orsino ... See full summary »

Director: John Gorrie
Stars: Alec McCowen, Robert Hardy, Felicity Kendal
The Merry Wives of Windsor (TV Movie 1982)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When Sir John Falstaff decides that he wants to have a little fun he writes two letters to a pair of Window wives: Mistress Ford and Mistress Page. When they put their heads together and ... See full summary »

Director: David Hugh Jones
Stars: Alan Bennett, Richard O'Callaghan, Tenniel Evans
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

A plotting Duke leaves his kingdom in the hands of a prudish soldier, who evokes an arcane law making fornication punishable by death - but who then abuses his power when he becomes obsessed with an even more chaste young man.

Director: Gabriel Manwaring
Stars: Howard Adler, Jarod Christopher Alford, Howard Asher
The Two Gentlemen of Verona (TV Movie 1983)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 16th century Italy, two inseparable friends suddenly become rivals for the love of a noblewoman.

Director: Don Taylor
Stars: Frank Barrie, Tessa Peake-Jones, Hetta Charnley
King Lear (TV Movie 1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An aging King invites disaster when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters and rejects his one loving, but honest one.

Director: Michael Elliott
Stars: Colin Blakely, Leo McKern, Robert Lindsay
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

When the Duke of Vienna takes a mysterious leave of absence and leaves the strict Angelo in charge, things couldn't be worse for Claudio, who is sentenced to death for premarital sex. His ... See full summary »

Director: Anne Clifford
Stars: Natalie Richardson, Richard Harper, Craig Foster
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Isabella
...
Angelo
Christopher Strauli ...
Claudio
...
Lucio
Jacqueline Pearce ...
Mariana
...
Pompey
...
Provost
...
Mistress Overdone
Ellis Jones ...
Elbow
John Clegg ...
Froth
William Sleigh ...
Barnardine
...
Abhorson
Yolande Palfrey ...
Juliet
Eileen Page ...
Francisca
Edit

Storyline

When the Duke of Vienna takes a mysterious leave of absence and leaves the strict Angelo in charge, things couldn't be worse for Claudio, who is sentenced to death for premarital sex. His sister, Isabella (a nun-in-training), however, is a very persuasive pleader. She goes to Angelo, but instead of freeing her brother, she gets an offer from Angelo to save Claudio's life if Isabella sleeps with him. The only sympathetic friend Isabella has is a priest who, in actuality, is the Duke in disguise...and he has a plan. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 February 1979 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Measure for Measure  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Desmond Davis based the brothel in the play on a traditional Western saloon and the prison on a typical horror film dungeon. See more »

Connections

Version of Theatre Parade: Measure for Measure (1937) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Superlative Production of a Troubling Play
23 September 2006 | by See all my reviews

In "Measure for Measure," Shakespeare gives us no character as an entry point to this acid discussion of justice vs. mercy, religious faith and hypocrisy. Virginity, assaults thereon and reputations at stake are once again pivotal questions. The low comedy characters, often tedious irrelevancies in other plays, are here in the bordello trade, and for once their stories resonate with the main narrative.

We must consider "Measure for Measure" as a comedy, since all the characters live and many of them marry at the end, yet we as an audience are not really allowed to get comfortable at the twisty conclusion. The dramatic resolution is strangely prolonged and the aftertaste is a queasy one. I doubt this is the favorite play of all that many admirers of the Bard.

That being said, this video is a very satisfying production. The director, Desmond Davis, keeps the pace up at all times - there is no flagging of energy or movement. The visuals are unfamiliar compared to others in the series that deliberately reference Old Master paintings. Yet the images are uniformly precise, effective and gratifying to behold.

A word of admiration for the tracking shots of characters walking down the endless streets of Vienna. The television studio configuration is often the set constructed at one end and the camera observing at the other. However, for this day's shooting, the street set was constructed in a circle hugging the four walls of the studio, with cameras and cast walking around inside it. Nicely done.

The cast is almost uniformly satisfying. Kate Nelligan, who has been known to be dreary on some occasions, brings off perfectly the goodness and persuasiveness of Isabella, without ever becoming sanctimonious or annoying. Tim Pigott-Smith excels as the predatory hypocrite Angelo, an ancestor of his memorable Captain Merrick in "The Jewel in the Crown." John McEnery as the loudmouth dandy Lucio, Frank Middlemass and Adrienne Corri as the bawds deserve special mention. A highlight is Christopher Strauli's finely calibrated jailhouse speech, in which Claudio first commends his sister's decision not to save his life by giving in to sexual blackmail, and gradually decides that he loves living enough that perhaps she should disgrace herself after all.

A major theme in the whole BBC series is bringing Shakespearian speech down to conversational volume for TV, after centuries of ritualized shouting in theaters. Kenneth Colley as the manipulative Duke almost takes it too far, as his language sometimes descends to liquid baritoning at the expense of diction. He also moves his head too much for the camera, eyes rolling and skull oscillating from side to side.

According to Susan Willis's book, Colley was the 32nd actor approached for the part, the first choice being Alec Guinness, but then you can't always get what you want. Between extended rehearsal schedules and unimpressive money, casting this whole series must have been a mammoth exercise in frustration.

However, these are minor annoyances in the scheme of things. All in all, major cheers for an excellent production of a disquieting play.


18 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?