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A Midwinter's Tale (1995)
"In the Bleak Midwinter" (original title)

 -  Comedy  -  16 February 1996 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,830 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 25 critic

Out of work actor Joe volunteers to help try and save his sister's local church for the community by putting on a Christmas production of Hamlet, somewhat against the advice of his agent ... See full summary »

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Title: A Midwinter's Tale (1995)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Henry Wakefield (Claudius, the Ghost, and the Player King)
Hetta Charnley ...
Molly
...
Margaretta D'Arcy
...
Tom Newman (Laertes, Fortinbras, and messengers)
Mark Hadfield ...
Vernon Spatch (Polonius, Marcellus, and First Gravedigger)
Gerard Horan ...
Carnforth Greville (Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Horatio, and Barnardo)
...
Fadge
...
Joe Harper (Hamlet)
...
Nancy Crawford
...
Nina Raymond (Ophelia)
...
Terry Du Bois (Queen Gertrude)
Ann Davies ...
Mrs. Branch
James D. White ...
Tim
Robert Hines ...
Mortimer
Allie Byrne ...
Tap Dancer
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Storyline

Out of work actor Joe volunteers to help try and save his sister's local church for the community by putting on a Christmas production of Hamlet, somewhat against the advice of his agent Margaretta. As the cast he assembles are still available even at Christmas and are prepared to do it on a 'profit sharing' basis (that is, they may not get paid anything) he cannot expect - and does not get - the cream of the cream. But although they all bring their own problems and foibles along, something bigger starts to emerge in the perhaps aptly named village of Hope. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

christmas | actor | play | homosexual | actress | See more »

Taglines:

The drama. The passion. The intrigue... And the rehearsals haven't even started.

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Midwinter's Tale  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$346,839 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the movie Joe Harper (alter ego of Kenneth Branagh) turns down a role in a big sci-fi trilogy to return to his company to play Hamlet, Branagh himself was originally considered for the part of the younger Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999). See more »

Quotes

Vernon Spatch: You're doing wonderfully well. Tell me, are your nipples hard?
Fadge: If they were any harder, Tom could do chin-ups from them.
See more »

Connections

References Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Why Must The Show Go On
Written by Noel Coward
© Chappell Music Ltd
by kind permission of Warner Chappell Music Ltd.
Recording courtesy of Sony Records
by Arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd.
Performance cleared by American Federation of Musicians
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hamlet as a comedy, what could be better?
22 May 2002 | by (NY, NY) – See all my reviews

I love this film. It is small, and quiet, and it is rather unexpectedly in black and white. It opens like a documentary, and then slips you right into the role of fly on the wall for the rest of the film.

The ensemble is terrific and keep an eye on the facial expressions of the actors who are not actually speaking. A lot of Branagh regulars make welcome appearances. The "look" is wonderfully textured and layered, taking advantage of b/w. Ironically, I prefer many of "Joe's" interpretations of Hamlet to the same scenes in the various film versions I've seen, including Branagh's epic version. Of course, the version they perform is designed for the stage, with a mostly live audience....

My favorite aspect of this film is that it turns a production of Hamlet into a "neo-pseudo-Shakespearean comedy." The parallels between the characters in Hamlet still exist in the players in A Midwinter's Tale. They've been updated and personalized so that Joe's comment that "the play is about loss" works equally well for the film. But, just as almost everyone is dead at the end of a Shakespearean tragedy, everyone is paired up at the end of MT. Of course, as a modern work it can't just end in weddings, but happy endings abound for everyone.

The cleverness of this all is that there is naughty, campy, frivolous humour which hides deep emotional pain, uncertainty, and even tragedy. Anyone who is familiar with Shakespeare's comedies will be familiar with that dark edge which contrasts the joyous romping. Then there are the requisite farcical elements to make the parallel complete.

The only unresolved issues I had at the end of the film/play were "how will Molly handle the fencing scene?" and "how is it possible for Henry to be both Claudius and the Player King?" But I'm not about to gripe about these little points when everything else is tied up so neatly and well.




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