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Cymbeline, the King of Britain, is angry that his daughter Imogen has chosen a poor (but worthy) man for her husband. So he banishes Posthumus, who goes to fight for Rome. Imogen (dressed as a boy) goes in search of her husband, who meanwhile has boasted to his pal Iachimo that Imogen would never betray him. And Iachimo's determined to prove him wrong. Written by
Elijah Moshinsky shot the scene of Iachimo watching the sleeping Imogen in the same way as he shot the scene of Imogen finding Cloten in bed beside her; as Iachimo leaves the room, the camera is at the head of the bed, and as such, Imogen appears upside-down in frame. Later, when she awakes to find the headless Cloten, the scene begins with the camera in the same position, with Imogen once again upside-down; "the inverted images visually bind the perverse experiences, both nightmarish, both sleep related, both lit by one candle." See more »
This play was first staged in the early 1600s and inevitably it has lost something in transportation through time and space to a BBCTV studio. The atmosphere doesn't feel right even though the costumes and sets are not bad. As for the plot, King Cymbeline (Richard Johnson) is not a happy bunny when his daughter Imogen (Helen Mirren) marries beneath her station. He banishes the husband from the kingdom and puts Imogen under the wing of her treacherous stepmother (Claire Bloom). From there the story takes many twists and turns. Robert Lindsay puts in a fine performance as a baddie, and it's nice to see Michael Gough, Patricia Hayes, Marius Goring and Michael Hordern popping up here and there. The play is not one of Shakespeare's greatest hits though, and this 1980s TV version only just held my attention; it seemed dull in parts.
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