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5 October 1984 (UK)  »

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The Tragedy of Antony & Cleopatra  »

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Version of Antony and Cleopatra (1951) See more »

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Disappointing adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy
30 September 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I will admit I was disappointed with this film adaptation, when I watched it as I am studying Antony and Cleoptra for English at school. Though to be fair, Antony and Cleopatra is a very complicated play, but for me despite some good moments, this didn't work for me. It is faithful to Shakespeare's play, however there were some scenes that just fell flat; Antony and Cleopatra's reconciliation came across as unintentionally funny rather than heart-rending, and the whipping of the messenger Thydias could have been such an effective scene, sadly it wasn't. The sets and costumes weren't lavish enough, Cleopatra's dresses were nice to look at, if rather simple, but Antony looked as though he was a poor person for most of the production, and Octavious Caesar's costumes just didn't show off his character. And the sets looked rather amateurish for my liking. The performances were variable. I wasn't fond of Timothy Dalton as Antony, he looked the part, but I didn't feel his heart was in it, and when Antony loses his dignity and honour, I felt Dalton overdid it here. Aquitting herself much better is Lynn Redgrave as Cleopatra, true I didn't think she was vivacious enough, but she did have some excellent delivery, and mostly she was bang on target with her character. Sadly, most of her scenes weren't as effective as they could have been, but that wasn't Redgrave's fault, the maids were very static, and throughout I found the direction unusually sluggish. The worst performance was easily Antony Geary as Caesar, he wasn't right for the part at all. Ceasar is cold, calculating and authoritative, and Geary as far as I was concerned didn't do any of those things in his performance, and I found Sharon Barr bland as Octavia. Barrie Ingham however was superb as Enobarbus, he brought a sense of loyalty and poignancy to his part, and that was highly appreciative. Walter Koenig relishes his role as Pompey. Finally, the camera work was okay, a little rough in places. Overall, disappointing. The version with Janet Suzman was better. 5/10 Bethany Cox


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