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 ... See full summary »
Imagining that Mistress Ford and Mistress Page have each fallen for him, the fat knight Sir John Falstaff decides to seduce them both, as much for their husbands' money as for their ... See full summary »
A mild-mannered English conscientious objector moves to what he feels will be the relative calm of Australia after World War I, but gets caught in the middle of violent battles between the rising trade unions and fascist groups.
True story about a jailed bank robber who pretends he's become blind to get an early release. Cops don't believe him, but a lonely minister's wife arrives to teach him how to live with his "condition". They fall in love. Big mistake.
When a womanizing bookshop owner hears about the suicide of his former girlfriend, he tries to find out more and meets her friend, a prostitute. They hook up, but when she finds her friends... See full summary »
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 »
On the whole, this production of "The Merry Wives of Windsor" is admirable. It contains nearly all of Shakespeare's lines (including a few insertions from the Quarto version); it includes some excellent performances; the staging is generally deft, and the atmosphere of the play is warmly engaging; and the sets are pleasing to the eye.
Prunella Scales and Judy Davis as Mistresses Page and Ford (respectively) are especially good, but nearly all the other members of the cast -- ranging from Richard Griffiths as Falstaff to Elizabeth Spriggs as Mistress Quickly -- are also highly commendable. The one exception, surprisingly, is Ben Kingsley as Ford. To be sure, anyone playing the role of Ford has to go over the top occasionally. However, Kingsley is annoyingly histrionic in the pejorative sense of the term; his high-strung mannerisms and his falsetto utterances become quite tiresome. His performance is not unalloyedly woeful, but it is well below the level of the other performances.
A few of the other reviewers on this site have criticized Richard Griffiths for his portrayal of Falstaff, but Griffiths aptly captures the nature of Falstaff in "Merry Wives" -- a play that presents Falstaff as a somewhat less shrewd character than the Falstaff of the Henry IV plays. Moreover, the girth of Griffiths made him more suitable for the role than was Anthony Quayle in the BBC's Henry IV productions (though Quayle's excellent acting compensated for his physical unsuitability).
Apart from Ben Kingsley's performance, the main objectionable feature of this otherwise admirable production is that a few scenes and smaller portions of the play are rearranged. The rearrangements aren't damaging, but they strike me as pointless. (Much the same can be said about the handful of small excisions of Shakespeare's lines.) All in all, I can recommend this production heartily to anyone who wants to experience the charms of Shakespeare's play.
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