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The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1983)

In 16th century Italy, two inseparable friends suddenly become rivals for the love of a noblewoman.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Barrie ... Sir Eglamour
... Julia
Hetta Charnley ... Lucetta
... Proteus
John Hudson ... Valentine
Nicholas Kaby ... Speed
... Antonio
... Panthino
Joanne Pearce ... Silvia
... Launce
Bella ... Crab
... Thurio
Paul Daneman ... Duke of Milan
... Servant
Charlotte Richardson ... Cupid
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Storyline

Valentine and Proteus have been friends since childhood. The two are sad when Valentine must leave to work for a count, but Proteus is not too bothered since he is seeing the lovely Julia. Proteus' father, not liking the idea of the match, sends his son away to work with Valentine at the count's court. When Proteus is reunited with his friend again, Valentine introduces him to the beautiful and intelligent noblewoman Silvia. He confesses the two of them are in love and plan to elope. Unfortunately, Proteus becomes infatuated with Silvia upon first sight, forgetting all about Julia, and plans to betray his friend and his love to win Silvia for himself. Written by cupcakes

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Comedy

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Release Date:

27 December 1983 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: The Two Gentlemen of Verona  »

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Trivia

Director Don Taylor initially planned a representational setting for the film; Verona, Milan and the forest were all to be realistic. However, he changed his mind early in preproduction and had production designer Barbara Gosnold go in the opposite direction - a stylised setting. To this end, the forest is composed of metal poles with bits of green tinsel and brown sticks stuck to them (the cast and crew referred to the set as "Christmas at Selfridges"). Whilst the set for Verona remained relatively realistic, that for Milan featured young actors dressed like cherubs as extras. This was to convey the idea that the characters lived in a 'Garden of Courtly Love', which was slightly divorced from everyday reality. Working in tandem with this idea, upon Proteus' arrival in Milan, after meeting Silvia, he is left alone on stage, and the weather suddenly changes from calm and sunny to cloudy and windy, accompanied by a thunderclap. The implication being that Proteus has brought a darkness within him into the garden of courtly delights previously experienced by Silvia See more »

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Version of Verona (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Best Performance by a Dog in Shakespeare
16 December 2006 | by See all my reviews

If "Two Gentlemen" isn't the first of Shakespeare's plays, it might as well be. There are many themes here that are rough sketches for later, more fully developed works, but the play as a whole is a misfire, and this performance can't redeem it.

The physical production is beautiful, and Crab, the dog, is an unfailing source of warmth and enjoyment. The human actors, however, are much more of a mixed lot, with none outstanding, some good, a handful perplexing and more than a few excruciating.

A wise man once said, "Never tell an English actor he's in a comedy," and the first, sunny half of the play is a chore to sit through with all the mugging, rolling eyeballs and forced laughter. Once things get serious at about the midpoint the young cast is on a firmer emotional footing, however preposterous the plot. Shockingly, the final Shakespearean resolution, in which everybody forgives everybody and all the couples are united, for once does not produce the requisite spinal tingle.

You may remember the beautiful sets. You will remember the dog. But you won't have that wonderful feeling of two or three hours in the exquisite company of Shakespeare, because this one just doesn't work.


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