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The First Part of Henry the Sixth (1983)

Following his father's early death and the loss of possessions in France, young Henry VI comes to the throne, under the protection of the Duke of Gloucester. He is unaware that there are ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Basset / French Sergeant
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Duke of Burgundy (as Anthony Brown)
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Paul Chapman ...
Earl of Suffolk
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Third Messinger to the King / Countess' Porter
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Mayor of London / Sir John Fastolfe
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Reignier, Duke of Anjou / Vernon
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Earl of Somerset
Tenniel Evans ...
Duke of Bedford / Mortimer, Earl of March / French General
Derek Farr ...
Earl of Salisbury / Sir William Lucy
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Margaret, Daughter of Reignier
Derek Fuke ...
Talbot's Captain / Gloucester's Servant
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Storyline

Following his father's early death and the loss of possessions in France, young Henry VI comes to the throne, under the protection of the Duke of Gloucester. He is unaware that there are other claimants to the throne, Plantagenet of York and Somerset of Lancaster, whose factions will ultimately cause the Wars of the Roses. Ignorant of the schisms, Henry tries to unite them in the Hundred Years' War, capturing Joan of Arc, before he marries Margaret of Anjou to unite England and France. However, there is no dowry, angering the court. Margaret finds the pious Henry a dull husband and embarks upon an affair with Somerset as well as crossing Gloucester's wife Eleanor. When Gloucester is arrested for alleged treason because of Eleanor, Henry is too feeble to prevent his death or the country slipping into civil war.

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2 January 1983 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Henry VI, Part One  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Inspired by the notion that the political intrigues behind the Wars of the Roses often seemed like playground squabbles, Jane Howell and production designer Oliver Bayldon staged the four plays in a single set resembling a children's adventure playground. However, little attempt was made at realism. For example, Bayldon did not disguise the parquet flooring ("it stops the set from literally representing [...] it reminds us we are in a modern television studio"[158]), and in all four productions, the title of the play is displayed within the set itself (on banners in The First Part and The Second Part (where it is visible throughout the entire first scene), on a shroud in The Third Part, and written on a chalkboard by Richard himself in The Tragedy of Richard III). Many critics felt these set design choices lent the production an air of Brechtian verfremdungseffekt. See more »

Connections

Followed by Richard III (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great play, craptastic directorial concept
14 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Shakespeare is always great (even Titus Andronicus is great).

This version -- or rather, this imagining -- of Shakespeare is horrid, however. It's embarrassingly low-rent. For what should have been filmed as "the definitive productions of Shakespeare," the first tetralogy are pathetically presented in a horrid avant-garde style that may have worked on a short-run on stage, but filmed for all time just make one embarrassed that this was the best they could do.

Fie, FIE, Aunty Beeb, and fie on the director and set designer and costume designer.

It makes me weep that THIS is what they did.


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