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When Sir John Falstaff decides that he wants to have a little fun he writes two letters to a pair of Window wives: Mistress Ford and Mistress Page. When they put their heads together and compare missives, they plan a practical joke or two to teach the knight a lesson. But Mistress Ford's husband is a very jealous man and is pumping Falstaff for information of the affair. Meanwhile the Pages' daughter Anne is beseiged by suitors. Written by
Director David Hugh Jones originally wanted to shoot the entire film on location in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's home town, but when this proved impossible, he had production designer Don Homfray design a house based on the real life house which Shakespeare's son-in-law, Dr. Tom Hall, lived in. See more »
Has some disappointments, but sumptuous with most of the actors giving good performances
I am not sure whether I'd go as far to say that this performance is a treasure, but I also don't think it is that bad either. It does have things that I think could have been done better, for example I do agree that the pacing was very slack at times and that as much as I like him Ben Kingsley was very neurotic and all over the place as Ford. The direction is inconsistent, the scenes with Mistress Page, with Mistress Ford and with Mistress Quickly are great and Falstaff also has some fine moments, but I found Ford's overdone and for some reason the denouncement doesn't quite come off. However, visually it is very sumptuous, with the sets and costumes lushly coloured and true to period. Shakespeare's dialogue still has sparkle and wit, and on the most part the performances are good with the women on a higher level of consistency than the men. Judy Davis is a dignified and humorous Mistress Ford, and Prunella Scales is the same as Mistress Page and even more so. Elizabeth Spriggs' Mistress Quickly is wonderfully conniving. Richard Griffiths acquits himself very well, witty and robust yet noble and vulnerable, while in support with the men while Tenniel Evans is likable it is Michael Bryant's very funny Dr Caius that stands out. In conclusion, a decent production that is well performed on the whole and sumptuous to look at, though the pacing and some of the staging could have been better. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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