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Troilus & Cressida (1981)

During the Trojan War, a Trojan warrior is distraught when his lover takes up with a Greek.

Director:

Jonathan Miller

Writer:

William Shakespeare (play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Gray ... Pandarus
Anton Lesser ... Troilus
Tony Steedman ... Aeneas
Suzanne Burden Suzanne Burden ... Cressida
Max Harvey Max Harvey ... Alexander
Peter Walmsley Peter Walmsley ... Servant to Troilus
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Agamemnon
Geoffrey Chater ... Nestor
Benjamin Whitrow ... Ulysses
Bernard Brown ... Menelaus
Anthony Pedley Anthony Pedley ... Ajax
Jack Birkett Jack Birkett ... Thersites (as The Incredible Orlando)
Kenneth Haigh ... Achilles
Simon Cutter Simon Cutter ... Patroclus
Esmond Knight ... Priam
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Storyline

During the Trojan War, a Trojan warrior is distraught when his lover takes up with a Greek.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 November 1981 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Troilus & Cressida 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?

Trivia

Jonathan Miller wanted Troy to be sharply differentiated from Greece; Troy was decadent, with clear abstract lines (based on some of Hans Vredeman de Vries' architectural experiments with perspective). The Greek camp, on the other hand, was based on a gypsy camp near the BBC Television Centre; cluttered, dirty and squalid. Miller envisioned it as built on the remains of an earlier Troy, with bits of roofs jutting out of the ground and bits and pieces of ancient statues lying around (although this idea originated for Troilus, Miller had first used it in his earlier Timon of Athens (1981)). See more »

Connections

Version of Troilus und Cressida (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the Best of the Series
16 September 2006 | by tonstant viewerSee all my reviews

Jonathan Miller triumphs with a fascinating production of an unruly play. His eye for casting is faultless, and different from others in the series. This personal view is emphasized by his special precision as director in revealing the interplay of character. There is absolutely no rhetoric for sound's sake here - every character knows exactly why they are saying what they're saying, and who they're saying it to.

The running time of "Troilus" is 12 minutes longer than that of "Pericles," yet it feels around 45 minutes shorter. Much of this play is done with a single mobile camera in long, unblinking takes. This adds to the pressure on the actors and crew, and contributes to a special kind of energy.

The performances are all excellent, without an embarrassment in the cast. That is not always true in this series. The young lovers are fine. Charles Gray grabs the role of Pandarus, and shakes it within an inch of its life. This huge personality is almost too big for the small screen, yet he never quite outstays his welcome.

Ben Whitrow's Ulysses is perhaps the most clever, calculating and cold-blooded of any, in any version of the story I've seen. Anthony Pedley is a funny Ajax, and Kenneth Haigh and John Shrapnel are confident as Achilles and Hector. Esmond Knight as King Priam and Jack Birkett as Thersites are both blind actors, which adds a certain otherworldly quality to the proceedings. The physical production and sound design are both detailed and effective.

The book "The BBC Shakespeare Plays: Making the Televised Canon" by Susan Willis spends a whole chapter describing in detail the rehearsal, taping and editing of this "Troilus." Highly recommended reading.

P.S. The prologue is read off-camera by an uncredited actor. Could it be Alec McCowen? Whoever it is reads the Bard's words as they should be read, a model for would-be Shakespeareans to study.


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