|Index||3 reviews in total|
Thomas Middleton's oft-produced but rarely filmed play receives fine
handling in this made-for-TV production. Elizabeth McGovern plays
Beatrice-Joanna, one of the most remarkably cynical female characters
in literature, and Bob Hoskins plays her lustful, manipulative servant
DeFlores -- though the play raises questions about who is truly master
here! Good-to-excellent performances by all the featured actors
(particularly Ms. McGovern and Mr. Hoskins). Also a good chance to see
Hugh Grant before major stardom swept over him.
The 1974 version with Hellen Mirren, Stanley Baker, and Brian Cox is also first-rate, but unavailable! Skip the '98 Marcus Thompson version!
I rate this one ***½ (out of four).
I felt compelled to add this since the only other review is so negative... I saw this on a videotape of a friend of mine and it blew me away. The extreme violence and state of mind of the Jacobean era truly outclasses Shakespeare. This is, not only a wonderful play, but a wonderful rendition by this cast. Elizabeth McGovern opposite the smarmy Hoskins is sexy, evil and outstanding and, to my mind, Hugh Grant has done very few things better than this. If I could find this film I would buy it in a heartbeat. If you find it somewhere, rent it, borrow it and watch it with attention -- it deserves that much. Great play and great film......
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Thomas Middleton and William Rowley's "The Changeling" is one of the best of the Jacobean plays. This adaptation does us a favor by removing a tiresome subplot set in a madhouse and focusing on the central story of Beatrice-Joanna and DeFlores. Engrossing, grotesque and often downright icky, this production pulls no punches. The actors are very good and do a great job of treating the Jacobean text in a naturalistic way not too much "Shakespearean" posturing here. Also terrific are the costumes and props, especially the rarely seen Spanish navaja folding knife that Hoskins' character uses for his dirty work. (These knives are supposedly the inspiration for the Bowie knife and date all the way back to the 1600s, so they are perfectly correct for this play.) The Changeling is available thru the educational media website Films for the Humanities at films.org for the obscene price of $150. Borrow it from a library and you'll enjoy it.
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