|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This last part of the Wars of the Roses trilogy really picks up the
pace in the last part with double-crosses, betrayals and bloody murder
The Duke of York (Bernard Hill) stakes his claim to the throne, but when he dies in battle, the issue is taken up among his sons who install Edward (Brian Protheroe), the eldest, on the throne. Henry VI (Peter Benson) relents, but his wife Margaret (Julia Foster) will not give up royalty so easily and fights on...
Julia Foster makes for a ferocious, ruthless Margaret and is contrasted well with Benson, who generates sympathy for his weakling king as he is caught up helplessly in events once more, with fatal results. Paul Jessop makes for an interesting Clarence. Standalone versions of "Richard III" depict this character as a hapless dupe. This play shows he is definitely not and Jessop captures it brilliantly. Ron Cook is finally starting to cut loose as the treacherous Richard, as he begins his murderous path towards the English crown. Brian Protheroe is a blustering Edward, making an arrogant, self-righteous tyrant of the character.
The sets, once so colourful, are turned pitch-black then snowy white in the heat and cold of bloody battle. The lensing and camera-work are very good, with a multitude of moments and speeches being captured in a single take.
As Richard skulks out of his brothers celebration party, one can only dread what lies in store in the final episode of the Histories Cycle, "Richard III".
Peter Benson as Henry VI has his reign as well as himself come to an
ignoble end in the third part Shakespeare's Henry VI. The ironic thing
is that left to his own devices he would have given up the kingdom in a
London minute. Henry VI had he his heart's wish would have preferred
being a monk and slaving over obscure manuscripts and books. The apple
sprung so far from the tree of Henry V that many wondered what tree it
That was part of the problem for his valiant son Edward the Prince of Wales played by Nick Reding. Many suspected his parentage even then, that Queen Margaret might have born Edward courtesy of the Duke of Suffolk killed off in Part 2. Julia Foster really ratchets up Margaret's character who is now fighting for her son's birthright and keeping the Lancaster cause alive. If she hadn't been around about 4 battles would not have been fought.
Those battles make Henry VI Part 3 one of Shakespeare's bloodiest plays and for a photographed stage play they are presented remarkably well. The audience gets a first hand account about what war in the 15th century was all about.
As for the House Of York. Duke Richard played by Bernard Hill who raised the claim the York line had on the throne is killed early on and so is his youngest son. After that the oldest son Edward is singleminded in his pursuit of the crown. He's also singleminded in pursuit of the Woodvilles who provide him with his Queen. That upsets all kinds of arrangements that Mark Wing-Davey the Earl of Warwick who is the most powerful and wealthy lord in the kingdom has made. He turns sides and nearly costs the York faction what fought so hard for.
Ron Cook who was briefly introduced as the future Richard III in Part 2 also reveals his malevolent character in this plays. Again the BBC plays when broadcast in America were shown chronologically and with the same players. For more than anyone else in this series it allowed Cook free reign to develop his character which he took full advantage of.
In fact Cook and Foster are who you will best remember from this final play in the Shakespeare trilogy about the reign of Henry VI.
The two leads, Peter Benson as Henry VI and Julia Foster as Queen Margaret, are much less annoying in the final part of the trilogy than in the first twotowards the end, they even do some actual acting, which suggests that their monotones in the first five sixths of the trilogy should be blamed on the director. The minor parts, as usual for the BBC Shakespeare, are mostly well-handled, even (this time) Bernard Hill as Richard, though it's still a relief that he's replaced in the sequel. The direction is competent when it's not heavy-handed, sometimes (as in Warwick's final speech) going over the top and distracting from the play and Shakespeare's words. The production continues to be cheap and gloomy, but this only occasionally (as with implausible snow on what's normally conceived as a filmed indoor set) interferes with the play, though it never adds to it.
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