A rich merchant, Antonio is depressed for no good reason, until his good friend Bassanio comes to tell him how he's in love with Portia. Portia's father has died and left a very strange ...
See full summary »
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 »
King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »
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.
King Leontes of Bohemia suspects his wife, Hermione, and his friend, Polixenes, of betraying him. When he forces Polixenes to flee for his life, Leontes sets in motion a chain of events ... See full summary »
When Pericles discovers the dread answer to Antioch's riddle, he flees for his life straight into famine, shipwreck, love, fatherhood, and another shipwreck; he loses his wife and daughter,... See full summary »
David Hugh Jones
Cymbeline, the King of Britain, is angry that his daughter Imogen has chosen a poor (but worthy) man for her husband. So he banishes Posthumus, who goes to fight for Rome. Imogen (dressed ... See full summary »
Eight years earlier, Anne Elliot, the daughter of a financially troubled aristocratic family, was persuaded to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a young seaman, who, though ... See full summary »
A rich merchant, Antonio is depressed for no good reason, until his good friend Bassanio comes to tell him how he's in love with Portia. Portia's father has died and left a very strange will: only the man that picks the correct casket out of three (silver, gold, and lead) can marry her. Bassanio, unfortunately, is strapped for cash with which to go wooing, and Antonio wants to help, so Antonio borrows the money from Shylock, the money-lender. But Shylock has been nursing a grudge against Antonio's insults, and makes unusual terms to the loan. And when Antonio's business fails, those terms threaten his life, and it's up to Bassanio and Portia to save him.Written by
This is the best available performance of my favorite Shakespeare
I did not appreciate the Gemma Jones recording of The Merchant of Venice until recently when I reviewed five DVD's for showing to a class of undergraduates.
While I personally prefer the 1973 recording with Laurence Olivier, on the strength of his superior performance of Shylock, I found the production to be inadequate for most of the other scenes. This is especially true in the marvelous smaller scenes that need to be explained to students in detail, such as Act II, scene v, where Lancelet reads all kinds of innuendo into telltale palm of his hand -- a fine piece of comedy which Shakespeare wrote for Will Kempe. Also there is the scene where Portia informs Nerissa that they will be dressing as men to defend Antonio (Act III, scene iv) which, here in this production, is actually acted out while the others seem to avoid it. In this famous "cross-dressing" scene, we actually get a sense of the marvelous street slang and punning that would have appealed to Shakespeare's original audience. I also found that in the final act, where the three couples reaffirm their commitments and Portia and Nerissa confront their husbands regarding the rings, the scene is most appealing to a young audience.
I believe the 1980 performance stands out from those available on DVD and should not be overlooked.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this