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Twelfth Night, or What You Will (1988)

| Comedy, Drama, Romance | TV Movie
A noblewoman disguises herself as a young man and falls for her employer, a lovesick count. Unfortunately, the count's beloved falls for the disguised noblewoman and a comedy of unrequited love and mistaken identities ensues.

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Christopher Hollis ...
Julian Gartside ...
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Caroline Langrishe ...
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A noblewoman disguises herself as a young man and falls for her employer, a lovesick count. Unfortunately, the count's beloved falls for the disguised noblewoman and a comedy of unrequited love and mistaken identities ensues.

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Comedy | Drama | Romance

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Trivia

The Shakespearean ballad performed by Feste - "Come Away Death" - borrows an adapted melody from Paul McCartney's song "Once Upon A Long Ago". McCartney graciously donated the melody of his song for Kenneth Branagh's original stage production of Twelfth Night, performed by the Renaissance Theatre Company, and allowed the melody to be used in the film version. See more »

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Version of ITV Sunday Night Theatre: Twelfth Night (1969) See more »

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Ties with the 1980 BBC production as the best Twelfth Night...
5 June 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I always did consider Branagh's Twelfth Night the best version of Shakespeare's play(my favourite actually as of now of his plays, mainly because it was one of my first ones along with Macbeth). Then just today I saw the 1980 BBC version, which ties with this version also. Trevor Nunn's film is also good, very well made with a great cast, and the 1987 Australia version is good if very hard to find. In terms of production values, I may just prefer the 1980 version and the autumnal feel of Nunn's film, but the melancholic atmosphere added a whole new dimension to the play that in my opinion Nunn's lacked. Branagh's version also captures the sexual and social themes of Twelfth Night better than the Nunn film(not bringing that film down, just explaining why I prefer Branagh's account). Despite the realistic-looking production values and melancholic atmosphere, the comedy and wit of the play is still there with little if anything left wanting, and while harsh at first the music does calm down and fits well overall. The cast are wonderful, with the standouts being Anton Lesser's scene-stealing Feste and Richard Briers' indignant and not too self-pitying Malvolio, the butt of the clownery. James Saxon and James Simmons are very amusing also as Sirs Toby and Andrew, and Abigail McKern's Maria is very good also. Christopher Hollis is a dashing Sebastian, as Viola Frances Barber, apart from in the Inspector Morse episode she starred in, has rarely looked more radiant and Caroline Langrische is innocent, moving and intellectual as Olivia. Christopher Ravenscroft impresses as Orsino, not resorting too much to buffoonery and I agree he does make us believe he knows that Cesario is female and brings a lot of dimension to that scene. There are a couple of anachronistic things, like with the Christmas Tree, but I for me really enjoyed that particular scene and am willing to overlook any discrepancies. A wonderful Twelfth Night indeed. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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