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The Merchant of Venice (1973)

Not Rated | | Drama | TV Movie 7 October 1973
Antonio's friend Bassanio is in love and needs money to go courting. Using Antonio as his collateral, he borrows money from Shylock. But when the debt comes due, Shylock demands repayment ... See full summary »

Director:

John Sichel

Writer:

William Shakespeare (play)
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Laurence Olivier ... Shylock
Joan Plowright ... Portia
Jeremy Brett ... Bassanio
Michael Jayston ... Gratiano
Anthony Nicholls ... Antonio
Anna Carteret ... Nerissa
Louise Purnell Louise Purnell ... Jessica
Malcolm Reid Malcolm Reid ... Lorenzo
Charles Kay ... Prince of Aragon
Benjamin Whitrow ... Duke of Venice
Stephen Greif ... Prince of Morocco
Kenneth MacKintosh Kenneth MacKintosh ... Tubal
Barry James Barry James ... Salerio
Michael Tudor Barnes Michael Tudor Barnes ... Solanio
Denis Lawson ... Launcelot Gobbo
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Storyline

Antonio's friend Bassanio is in love and needs money to go courting. Using Antonio as his collateral, he borrows money from Shylock. But when the debt comes due, Shylock demands repayment in the form of a pound of Antonio's flesh. This is a video of the 1970 National Theatre stage production with most of the same cast. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 October 1973 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the last scene, Portia says: "It is almost morning." Yet, it is clearly already day. See more »

Crazy Credits

A Kaddish is sung over the end credits, supposedly indicating that Shylock has died. See more »

Connections

Version of The Merchant of Venice (1919) See more »

Soundtracks

Kaddish
Performed by Heinz Danziger
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mediocre production of a great play
2 March 2017 | by aldiborontiSee all my reviews

This production of The Merchant of Venice is set in Victorian times, which rather works against the play in some part. The Victorians were far more subtle in their anti-Semitism than the Elizabethans and it just strikes a false note to see it so openly expressed before a Jew by these Victorian gentlemen.

Much of the text is there, which is a relief as so many producers think they know better than Shakespeare how to put a play together, although Miller does omit some lines. For instance we don't hear Shylock loudly lamenting his daughter and his ducats, first with 'O my daughter' then 'O my ducats' and switching between the two with the ducats gradually winning out in this tussle between his losses. It's a marvelous moment and, apart from its comic qualities, is very revealing of the avarice at the heart of Shylock.

I think Miller left it out because he didn't want people laughing at Shylock too much. But this is after all a comedy rather than a tragedy and it is owing to Shakespeare's genius that we can both laugh at and sympathize with Shylock at different moments of the play. In fact Miller inserts himself too much into this play, especially where Jessica, Shylock's daughter, is concerned. With no justification at all he shows her as becoming discontent with her match with Lorenzo, brooding and regretful. This darkens the close of the play unnecessarily.

Miller should have let the play speak for itself without tromping through it in heavy boots to impose a modern sensibility on the actors. It's a shame because those actors are excellent in their roles. This could have been a far better production if Miller had just kept his ego in check a little, but he finds that difficult in most of his productions.

It's worth seeing though, as almost every production of Shakespeare is. His words are there and that is really all that counts at the end of the day. BTW at one point Bassanio says to Portia, "Lady, you have bereft me of all words." I know it's the character speaking but for an instant the idea came to my mind of Shakespeare being bereft of words. It was like thinking of the sun not shining or water not being wet. An impossibility!


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