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Henry IV Part I (1979)

The First Part of King Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry Surnamed Hotspur (original title)
Henry Bolingbroke has now been crowned King of England, but faces a rebellion headed by the embittered Earl of Northumberland and his son (nicknamed 'Hotspur'). Henry's son Hal, the Prince ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Henry, Prince of Wales
Rob Edwards ...
...
David Buck ...
...
...
Bruce Purchase ...
Robert Morris ...
Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March
John Cairney ...
Archibald, Earl of Douglas
...
Norman Rutherford ...
Sir Michael
Richard Owens ...
Terence Wilton ...
Sir Richard Vernon
...
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Storyline

Henry Bolingbroke has now been crowned King of England, but faces a rebellion headed by the embittered Earl of Northumberland and his son (nicknamed 'Hotspur'). Henry's son Hal, the Prince of Wales, has thrown over life at court in favour of heavy drinking and petty theft in the company of a debauched elderly knight, Sir John Falstaff. Hal must extricate himself from some legal problems, regain his father's good opinions and help suppress the uprising. Written by Peter Brynmor Roberts

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9 December 1979 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Henry IV Part I  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Part of the long running BBC Television Shakespeare project which ran between 1978 and 1985. See more »

Goofs

Henry butters his hands while talking to Hal. In the next cut he is wearing gloves. We then see him continuing to butter his hands and only the does he put on the gloves. See more »

Connections

Version of Falstaff (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

 
At least this play is available to watch.
23 February 2013 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

There are some good things about this film and some bad things. I guess the good this that this play was actually filmed, and that it is available to view for free on Youtube. Many of the history plays (with the exception of Henry V and Richard III) actually appear as film, as well as live performances, so being able to see this play performed is a benefit in and of itself. The other thing is that they stick to the play very faithfully. The scenes are film in order and the are complete. The only addition to this play was the death of Richard II, which occurs at the end of the previous play (which is also available on Youtube).

The thing that I did not like about this is that the effort seemed to be half-hearted at best. It is not that the acting was bad, but rather that the actors did not seem to put that much passion into the roles. Maybe it had something to do with the era in which it was made because many of these earlier Shakespearian performances were average at best. However Sir Lawrence Olivier's production of Richard III was, to put it bluntly, brilliant, and it was released quite some time before this play.

Many of the more modern plays seem to have much more life in it than these earlier performances, even though they tend to chop and change and delete parts of the play. Personally I don't mind this because the filmmakers are experimenting with the play using the television medium, which allows a lot more than a stage. For instance, the use of surveillance cameras in the recent release of Hamlet starring Patrick Stewart and David Tennant added to new dimension to the play (suggesting that what was initially done in private may not actually have been done in private).

I expected a lot more from Falstaff (though knowing that this was a BBC production I wasn't actually expecting all that much) and also a lot more from the scenes set in Eastcheap. In this film it is set in the basement which seems to be disconnected from the pub as a whole, in a way a sort of private gathering, while when I read the play I imagined that it was set in the main part of the pub. In a more modern setting, it would be in the main bar, with Falstaff being the dominant patron in the pub (as a number of pubs tend to have). This part of the play though does remind me of my days hanging around the Uni Tavern with our group and our 'members only' area.


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