In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead.
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Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio,
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Venice, 1596. Melancholy Antonio loves the youthful Bassanio, so when Bassanio asks for 3000 ducats, Antonio says yes before knowing it's to sue for the hand of Portia. His capital tied up in merchant ships at sea, Antonio must go to Shylock, a Jewish moneylender he reviles. Shylock wraps his grudge in kindness, offering a three-month loan at no interest, but if not repaid, Antonio will owe a pound of flesh. The Jew's daughter elopes with a Christian, whetting Shylock's hatred. While Bassanio's away wooing Portia, Antonio's ships founder, and Shylock demands his pound of flesh. With court assembled and a judgment due, Portia swings into action to save Bassanio's friend. Written by
Ian McKellen was set to play Antonio, but had to drop at the last minute due to scheduling conflicts. See more »
Approximately 0:02:50 into the film, camera equipment and a man with a black baseball cap w/white logo are seen on the left hand side of the frame. It's a very quick cutaway scene after a couple shots of the white balcony. See more »
Why, I am sure, if he forfeit thou wilt not take his flesh: what's that good for?
To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.
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I saw The Merchant of Venice in London last week. Great acting by Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Joseph Finnes and Lynn Collins. Compare to other movies based on Shakespeare's play, this production has made the play so easy to understand and follow. Bravo to Michael Radford for directing such top actors. The costume and the scenery are great and since it was filmed on location in Venice it gives the film and authentic flavor. I had read the play over thirty years ago at school and the emphasis was on the characters' anti-Semitic behavior toward the Jews and the cruelty of the Christians. I do not know if this movie is going to be controversial but in any case I am sure that it will get few Oscar nominations.
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