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On June 30th 2001, this version of Waiting for Godot was on Ch 4 in
as a part of their project "Beckett on film". Many of those who were lucky
enough to see it will probably tend to agree that it was a thoroughly
enjoyable film version of this fantastic play.
Waiting for Godot doesn't really invite filming, since it doesn't allow the utilization of the film medium; it is located in one single spot and has a very stationary character. Its main theme of the futility of man's aspirations comes across nicely though. The camera work was subtle but superbly done. The location chosen was very good, as well as the casting and the acting. The tree however looked too real for my taste. It fit nicely at the spot but I don't think it was used to support the activities. I gave this play-turned-film a 9. I would have given it a 10 if the tree had had the obviously fake expression usually used to support the absurd sense of the situation.
See it if you have the chance. If you are interested in the theatre, there is a good chance that you will like it.
This version of Waiting for Godot stands out as an excellent piece of film
making, having just seen a amateur production of Beckett's Endgame I see
it is that during Beckett lifetime he endeavoured to oversee everyone of
plays in its production process.
Beckett's work may be universal in its themes and its setting and its language, however, when put into the hands of a director who even for a split second fails to recognise the premise of the work it can easily fall short of its intended mark. This is why this film version of Waiting for Godot works so well. What the cast and director convincingly convey throughout this movie is the emphasis on whether Godot will ever arrive, having seen this movie twice I am still left with the feeling that Godot, whoever he may be, will come riding past on his horse all may even fall down from the heavens. The director has done an excellent job of keeping the dialogue and the direction of this play fluid, as though the characters are saying these words for the first time and in every scene Godot seems to be prevelent. This is a testament to the strong acting of the cast and most importantly the director who doesn't for a second relieve the tension of this play or lose track of its theme of waiting, or time passing, or moments lost, or endless days. As an introduction to Beckett this movie is perfect though I'm sure Beckett would be dissapointed with this movies insistent focus upon on spoonfeeding its audience with the Beckett like ideas, but I feel this is the only way in which to get across the message of the play. I'm of the opnion that his plays have to be stripped down its essentials and any attempt at a production of Beckett that leaves the audience with a feeling of understanding is a success, this movie does exactly that.
Waiting for Godot is not a play souly dependent upon dialogue and setting, it is also dependent upon movement and conviction in the central idea of time. This is what this movie emphasises and once you have completed the movie for its duration you can only be left with a feeling of total awe for Beckett.
This is surely the definitive version of "Waiting for Godot." I have
lived with and loved Beckett's work since I first encountered his work
at Penn State back in the 1950's. Though my personal favorite of his
plays is "Endgame," I have always found "Godot" worthwhile. When it
first was produced, it seemed ever so enigmatic, but as has often been
said, and truly, the theatre of the absurd eventually became
mainstream, and "Godot" is now direct and almost naive in its symbolism
.. I say almost because its honesty and tragic power overcomes one,
This is a tragicomedy that has cumulative power. This film version has a perfect cast, boasts subtly superb camera work, and the most perfect timing and pace throughout. Instead of an absurdist situation, director and cast manage to convey a sense of "surreal reality," for these two poor men (for the first time I wondered if they were brothers!) are truly waiting for some kind of handout that will never come .. and who cannot relate to that after what Americans have been through in the past decade plus? I have not seen the old Burgess Meredith-Zero Mostel telecast, but have ordered it, and I've always admired the old vinyl album starring Bert Lahr and E. G. Marshall, but Michael Lindsay-Hogg's "Waiting for Godot" will, I suspect, always be the cinematic pinnacle. I found it riveting and deeply moving.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Two men wait in a wasteland for a mysterious man named Godot who may
hold the key to their future.
For me this is the best version of the play I've ever seen. I've read the play any number of times, I've seen it on stage with Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin and I've seen several other film (or rather TV) versions of the play and every time I've seen it I've never found the wonder that many people find in the play. I don't get it. Perhaps its the fact that the play has become part of our cultural history and has been riffed on and parodied that its lost some of it power. (Personally I think its not that good but thats another thing all together). In all the times I've seen it I only fleetingly found the humor and the magic of the play. That is until I saw this version. Seeing this film with Barry McGovern and Johnny Murphy I at last found the play to be funny and touching. Thanks to Michael Lindsay Hogg's direction I saw the humor and the magic. I still don't think its a great play, but for the first time in decades of wrestling with the play I finally found a reason to understand why the play is constantly being revived. There is humor and there is magic- you just have to have the right actors in the lead roles, and you also need a way of bringing the audience into the action. This film has that in spades.
Actually the best thing I can say about this film is that for the first time in my life I'm looking forward to seeing Waiting for Godot again, not because its "good" for me but because there is a version of it I love.
A stunning adaptation on film of Beckett's overwhelmingly brilliant play. It stands as the ultimate monument to Existential thought and McGovern's incredibly beautiful interpretation of his role is a reference point for all actors who follow in his footsteps. I have seen a dozen or so versions of Godot, both on stage and in film, and this is the epitome of cinema adaptations. It was absolutely essential this play among all of Beckett's works be captured for posterity on film and the result is almost perfect. This is a wonderful gift to those who will never have the opportunity to view a live stage production and anyone who views it will be eternally grateful for it. It is a treasure for the ages indeed and the fact that Barry McGovern is cast in this film makes it all the more invaluable to the intellectual elite as well as the reality show masses. Beckett speaks to both groups and across all levels of society. No other work of the written word communicates so much in so little time and does it so powerfully. If you have never read or seen any thing written by Beckett, prepare yourself for one of the purest, most powerfully overwhelming experiences of your life when you sit down to view this film. I envy you what you are about to feel, how your life is about to be changed, and how your soul is about to be touched. What a magnificent gift awaits you.
This play is not easily understood by the average person. Stunning black comedy(Somber comedy no faith in the governments at the time). I did this play for dramatic arts for a grade 12, did not really grasp the play my self, but now I can see where the play wright is coming from. The tramps are waiting in vain for hope that will never come just look at the poor today. The point the play wright is putting across is that others do not make your dreams come true, that is up to you to make them happen. Another point is time dose not wait for those who do not make things happen for them selves. Epic true to life play, well written work. Very funny if you have the capacity to understand tho play fully.
This is a magic piece of work. I am sure if Becket could see it, he would be justly happy of the performances and how it was laid onto celluloid. For those unfamiliar with it, there are no filmic landscapes or action, just the action and landscape of life.
I will confess to having never seen the play or for that matter ever hearing of this story. I will also confess that I did not see the film from the beginning so I really have no clue to what it is about BUT that being said "Waiting for Godot" is a very intriguing film. If you are a fan of pure dialog this is a must see, or should I say "a must listen" because the visuals are not that important. My only complaint is that it does take some effort on the part of the viewer. This is not something you watch casually. If you do you will be lost!
<"If you are interested in the theatre, there is a good chance that you
will like it.>"
And an equally good chance that you will not! Unless you enjoy aimless dialogue that keeps you "Waiting...." until the final merciful curtain.
I'm not criticizing this film version. I wouldn't subject myself to it since I dislike the play so much. I first encountered it in college, hated it then and have managed to almost completely avoid it ever since.
We're all entitled to our opinions so please don't trash or try to correct mine. I know Beckett is considered an "icon" but I'm an open minded person who's given this "sacred cow" all the chances to interest me that I intend to. As a semi-pro actor I've been suggested for both the "main" roles but I couldn't imagine the torture of having to struggle through this script. Or to memorize these meandering lines!!
Sorry, folks, but I guess Beckett just isn't my cuppa !! Perhaps if I still drank alcohol,,,,, Joe
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