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All's Well That Ends Well (1981)

Helena loves Bertram, but he's of noble birth, while she's just a doctor's daughter. But Bertram is at the court of the King of France, who is ill, and Helena has a remedy that might cure ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Bertram
...
Lafeu
Angela Down ...
Helena
...
Kevin Stoney ...
Rinaldo
...
King of France
...
Captain Dumain
...
Captain Dumain
...
Lavache
...
Bachelor
John Segal ...
Bachelor
...
Bachelor
Yves Aubert ...
Bachelor
Terence McGinity ...
First Gentleman
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Storyline

Helena loves Bertram, but he's of noble birth, while she's just a doctor's daughter. But Bertram is at the court of the King of France, who is ill, and Helena has a remedy that might cure him and win her the right to marry Bertram. But does Bertram want to marry her? Written by Kathy Li

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Genres:

Comedy | Romance

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Details

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Release Date:

4 January 1981 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: All's Well That Ends Well  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In line with producer Jonathan Miller's aesthetic policy, director Elijah Moshinsky used the work of artists as visual influence. Of particular importance was Georges de La Tour. Moshinsky showed some of de La Tour's work to lighting technician John Summers, as he wanted to capture the dark/light contrast of the work, as well as the prominence of silhouettes and chiaroscuro effects common in the paintings. Summers loved this idea and worked it into his lighting. For example, he lit the scene where the widow agrees to Helena's wager as if it was illuminated by a single candle. To achieve this, he used a projector bulb hidden by objects on the table to simulate the sense of a single bright light source. See more »

Connections

Version of All's Well That Ends Well - Act II Scene 5 (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Too reverential by half
29 August 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In a sense, there has been too much effort and taste lavished on a problem play that is a long way short of Shakespeare's best. The Vermeer interiors and Rembrandt references look a treat, but (as well as being anachronistic by half a century) add weight where there is little in the text. A number of the performances do the same, including Angela Down's magnificent Helena, and Paul Brooke's Lavache, the least clownish, and most accountant-like, clown one could possibly hope to meet.

The problem is that if the play is read as a piece with serious psychological points to make and where motivation may be complex but remains explicable, then it is a hard play to watch. Bertram is a distinctly unappealing husband (Ian Charleson's performance does not find hidden depths) for a strong character such as Helena. The tormenting of Parolles by Bertram and his friends can be dismissed as Elizabethan knockabout, unless the treatment is highly realistic, in which case - as in this production - it looks like torture. The attempted seduction of Diana can be farcical, with the clever comedic logic of the rings and the pregnancy, but here seems simply unpleasant.

Donald Sinden's King is the sort of eye-rolling ham performance that will make sense of this play, but amidst the restraint he falls rather flat.

The stand-out performance is Celia Johnson's Countess, a lovely role brilliantly played. She is not the butt of any jokes, and so can be played tenderly. As with Sinden, the older style of acting suits the material. Sometimes, for example during the Florentine scenes, one aches for Johnson to be on screen.

It's not awful, just very much the wrong style, like filming St Trinians in the style of Cathy Come Home.


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