6.6/10
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17 user 13 critic

The Tempest (1979)

Banished to a forsaken island, the Right Duke of Milan and sorcerer Prospero, gets the chance to vindicate the King of Naples, with the assistance of his airy spirit-servant, Ariel.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
David Meyer ...
Neil Cunningham ...
Sebastian, his brother
Heathcote Williams ...
...
...
Antonio, his brother
...
Jack Birkett ...
...
Peter Turner ...
Ken Campbell ...
Elisabeth Welch ...
A Goddess
Claire Davenport ...
Kate Temple ...
Helen Wellington-Lloyd ...
A Spirit
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Storyline

Prospero, a potent magician, lives on a desolate isle with his virginal daughter, Miranda. He's in exile, banished from his duchy by his usurping brother and the King of Naples. Providence brings these enemies near; aided by his vassal the spirit Ariel, Prospero conjures a tempest to wreck the Italian ship. The king's son, thinking all others lost, becomes Prospero's prisoner, falling in love with Miranda and she with him. Prospero's brother and the king wander the island, as do a drunken cook and sailor, who conspire with Caliban, Prospero's beastly slave, to murder Prospero. Prospero wants reason to triumph, Ariel wants his freedom, Miranda a husband; the sailors want to dance. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Full of magic and surprises... the most truly spectacular British film in years. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 December 1980 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

A Tempestade  »

Box Office

Budget:

£150,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Prospero was originally intended for an older actor and John Gielgud was approached but declined. It was then offered to Terry-Thomas but his failing health caused him to turn it down. The character was then rewritten as a younger Prospero and Heathcote Williams was cast. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Prospero, the Right Duke of Milan: ...We are such stuff/As dreams are made on, and our little life/Is rounded with a sleep.
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Crazy Credits

Many Thanks To All Those Who Took An Interest and Especially... and All The Sailors Who Weathered The Storm. See more »

Connections

Version of The Tempest (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

Stormy Weather
Written by Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler
Performed by Elisabeth Welch
Arranged by Stephen Pruslin
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User Reviews

dreamy bit of queer cinema
9 April 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Derek Jarman's take on Shakespeare makes it into something of a punk symphony, without sacrificing the heart of the play. His cast are mostly very good – especially Heathcote Williams as Prospero, Toyah as Miranda, and Karl Johnson as Ariel – and the bits that are added fit in well, especially Elisabeth Welch's appearance singing ‘Stormy Weather'.

Comedy light relief is provided by Ken Campbell and Christopher Biggins as the shipwrecked drunks finding themselves on Prospero's enchanted island, with Jack Birkett as a creepy Caliban.

The film keeps the interest by using the unexpected – it may miss the point of the quieter moments of the play but makes up for this by its sheer inventiveness. Even the songs are treated well with Johnson's sharp suited sprite showing a mischievous streak which works perfectly. All this is covered with a queer gloss which informs the play with a new perspective.


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