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Timon of Athens (1981)

Timon loves to give parties and objects to friends, but when he cannot pay his creditors, his "friends" refuse to help him, and he becomes a misanthropic hermit.

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Timon loves to give parties and objects to friends, but when he cannot pay his creditors, his "friends" refuse to help him, and he becomes a misanthropic hermit.

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Comedy | Drama

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16 April 1981 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Timon of Athens  »

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Trivia

For the scene when Timon loses his temper after the second banquet, Jonathan Pryce didn't know how he wanted to play the scene, so Jonathan Miller simply told him to improvise. This necessitated cameraman Jim Atkinson having to keep Pryce in shot without knowing beforehand where Pryce was going to go or what he was going to do. Only once, when Pryce seems as if he is about to bend over but then suddenly stops, did Atkinson lose Pryce from centre frame. See more »

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Version of Timon d'Atenes (1992) See more »

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A must for any fan of the Bard
20 May 2001 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

The history of Shakespeare's Timon of Athens is a little murky; critics speculate it was never performed in the author's lifetime, and the version that has been passed through the ages is a working draft, one the Bard tinkered on for years and eventually discarded. It is considered his weakest play.

Well, that may be, but it's still Shakespeare, which means it is still a classic. It does not have the strong storyline of Othello or the poetic depth of King Lear, but it has got a great lead character who has a very dynamic arc. And this BBC production of Timon of Athens is absolutely brilliant.

Jonathon Pryce gives an astonishing performance as Timon. He is such a little lamb at the beginning, so likeable, so naïve, and his fall is deeply moving and terribly sad. Put this performance up there with Derek Jacobi's Richard II and Laurence Olivier's Henry V. It is that good. This should be required viewing for anyone who wants to be an actor. Watching this, I never once thought, `There's Jonathon Pryce.' I thought, `Oh, poor Timon! Don't trust them! They're flatterers!'

The director and producer make some interesting (and strange) choices. Some of the dialogue is spoken out of earshot, for what seems like a long time. And the action takes place in ancient Greece, but all the characters are dressed in Elizabethan garb. I wonder: is it because they are trying to fashion something as it might have looked in Shakespeare's day? And if so, why would they do that?

That aside, there are a lot of nice directorial touches throughout, and very good work from the supporting players.

The BBC's Timon of Athens is a must for any Shakespeare fan. Watch this video!


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