7.3/10
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A Midwinter's Tale (1995)

In the Bleak Midwinter (original title)
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Out of work actor Joe volunteers to help try and save his sister's local church for the community by putting on a Christmas production of Hamlet, somewhat against the advice of his agent ... See full summary »

Director:

Kenneth Branagh

Writer:

Kenneth Branagh
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Briers ... Henry Wakefield (Claudius, the Ghost, and the Player King)
Hetta Charnley Hetta Charnley ... Molly
Joan Collins ... Margaretta D'Arcy
Nicholas Farrell ... Tom Newman (Laertes, Fortinbras, and messengers)
Mark Hadfield ... Vernon Spatch (Polonius, Marcellus, and First Gravedigger)
Gerard Horan Gerard Horan ... Carnforth Greville (Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Horatio, and Barnardo)
Celia Imrie ... Fadge
Michael Maloney ... Joe Harper (Hamlet)
Jennifer Saunders ... Nancy Crawford
Julia Sawalha ... Nina Raymond (Ophelia)
John Sessions ... Terry Du Bois (Queen Gertrude)
Ann Davies Ann Davies ... Mrs. Branch
James D. White James D. White ... Tim
Robert Hines Robert Hines ... Mortimer
Allie Byrne Allie Byrne ... Tap Dancer
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Storyline

Out of work actor Joe volunteers to help try and save his sister's local church for the community by putting on a Christmas production of Hamlet, somewhat against the advice of his agent Margaretta. As the cast he assembles are still available even at Christmas and are prepared to do it on a 'profit sharing' basis (that is, they may not get paid anything) he cannot expect - and does not get - the cream of the cream. But although they all bring their own problems and foibles along, something bigger starts to emerge in the perhaps aptly named village of Hope. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The drama. The passion. The intrigue... And the rehearsals haven't even started.

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 February 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Midwinter's Tale See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$346,839
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jimmy Yuill was offered a key role but had to pass because of his commitments to Wycliffe (1994). See more »

Quotes

[Prepping Molly to play Hamlet]
Carnforth Greville: If I ever forget my lines in Shakespeare, I always say, "Crouch we here awhile and lurk!" That seems to do the trick.
Molly: Why? What happens?
Carnforth Greville: Nothing, normally, but, you know, improvise a moment of intrigue, give you a chance to think of something, pick up a script.
See more »

Connections

References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

In The Bleak Midwinter
Written by Gustav Holst
Arranged by Jimmy Yuill
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Simply magnificent
4 January 2005 | by Michael MorrisonSee all my reviews

Rating this movie, I gave it a 10 only because there wasn't a higher number allowed.

Never having previously heard of this, I decided to take a chance on it one afternoon, though I generally avoid HBO, partly out of the lack of anything else important to do and partly because I saw Kenneth Branagh's name.

How serendipitous.

This almost perfect cinema experience moved me to tears, made me laugh, brought me to my feet applauding and cheering -- right here, perhaps foolishly, in my living room.

Branagh is further evidence that God is no socialist: Branagh has looks, talent, and now deservedly has money and probably all the romance he wants to handle. In other words, he has everything, while so many of us have nothing. Proving, as I said, God is no socialist, equitably sharing the wealth.

The cast of "In the Bleak Midwinter" is just simply magnificent. I can accept a quibble that some performances are a bit stereotyped (and one director wrote in this forum that anyone believing that just needs to accompany a troupe), but even if true, so what?

I love theater people.

I love theater people and that is perhaps the main reason I loved "In the Bleak Midwinter." As much as any film and more than most it shows stage actors in all their quirks and foibles, and in all their inherent humanity; it shows how the love for their craft, for their heritage and traditions, motivates them far more than does money or the chance of it, more than fame or the lack of it, and much, much more than does security.

Actors portraying actors often can be seen shifting into another gear, but that doesn't happen here. Director Branagh and the excellent cast of superb performers provide a nearly seamless, nearly perfect production, beautifully written by Branagh.

If there were room, each and every cast member should get a glowing tribute. Each and every one was great (even Joan Collins was great, though I can't help wondering: Is she EVER going to show any age on her?), and each and every one was a standout -- which might seem to be a contradiction, a paradox, but watch "In the Bleak Midwinter." You'll see what I mean.

Bravo, bravo, bravo. "In the Bleak Midwinter" is simply magnificent.


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