King Leontes of Bohemia suspects his wife, Hermione, and his friend, Polixenes, of betraying him. When he forces Polixenes to flee for his life, Leontes sets in motion a chain of events ... See full summary »
Henry Bolingbroke has now been crowned King of England, but faces a rebellion headed by the embittered Earl of Northumberland and his son (nicknamed 'Hotspur'). Henry's son Hal, the Prince ... See full summary »
This episode was filmed on the same set as The First Part of King Henry VI (1983). However, designer Oliver Bayldon altered the set so it would appear that the paint work was flaking and peeling, and the set falling into a state of disrepair, as England descended into an ever increasing state of chaos. In the same vein, the costumes became more and more monotone as the four plays went on; The First Part of King Henry VI (1983) features brightly coloured costumes which clearly distinguish the various combatants from one another, but by Richard III (1983), everyone fights in similarly coloured dark costumes, with little to differentiate one army from another. See more »
This is one of Shakespeare's earliest and weakest plays, but that doesn't excuse this production. The two leads (Peter Benson as King Henry and Julia Foster as Queen Margaret) are intolerable. Benson has some excuse, since playing a weak and useless king (who was in fact insane) makes it difficult to avoid acting weak and useless. Julia Foster, however, seemed to avoid acting altogether, in favor of simply glowering throughout the entire play. (In Part I, this made male characters' infatuation with her simply ridiculous). As usual with the BBC Shakespeare, however, most of the minor characters are well-portrayed; with, however, the exception of Ron Cook as the future Richard III, which bodes ill for the sequels.
As was regrettably fashionable at the time, the production is minimalist while the directing is over-done, especially some of the later battle scenes. But when the leads and the director get out of the way, some of the Shakespeare shines through.
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