A female theatre dresser creates a stir and sparks a revolution in seventeenth century London theatre by playing Desedmona in Othello. But what will become of the male actor she once worked for and eventually replaced?
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 »
Another BBC take on Shakespeare's histories, this production is of somewhat dubious quality. Completely unabridged, the play can be difficult to follow for those who have not read it, also, the poor camera angles and lacklustre performances from the cast fail to emphasise on certain points. David Gwillim, whom certainly looks more like Henry V than Olivier or Branagh, has a mixed performance in the lead role. His Henry, while amusing and likeable at times, tends to whimper his speeches, most notably when he meekly whispers his way through the St. Crispins day speech before leading his men against three or four pitiful French whom, we are to believe, are actually Sixty-thousand strong. In fact I lie, Henry does not even lead his men, we only see him trudging towards us after the "battle" has taken place. The characters than have the audacity to boast that ten-thousand French have been slain, when we have yet to see one dead body (discounting the solitary dead "boy")
The scenery is poor as well, instead of filming on location, the play is filmed on a horribly unrealistic set, the walls of Harfleur are evidently made from cardboard or some such substance, and the scenic field of Agincourt is in fact a wall. Cinematography does not change, almost all of the play is filmed in bright cutesy colours and Agincourt seems a remarkably pleasant "telly-tubby" place (all we need is the. We just cannot believe for a moment that what we are watching is real. The lack of music as well must be stated, since it strips the play of drama and tension.
This play could have been so good, the cast is capable, but the direction is so poor. If music, on-location sets, and better cinematography (i.e mud, fire, blood at Harfleur and Agincourt) had been used, then for very little extra money, the play could have been brilliant.
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