DIRECTOR: PETER BROOK
ACTORS: Paul Scofield as Lear, John Hurt, Diana Rigg, Cyril Cusach, Patrick Magee, Ian Hogg
SUPER POINTS: Acting...Period.
If you like Willy, this IS as good as it gets. Though it is a bit too wordy for most of us, this is one of those productions where the passages
somehow make sense, and don't lead you astray very much. I do recommend you take a break somewhere in the middle of it, because it IS really intense.
Peter Brook got his start with theatre in England, and has specialized in Shakespeare, though his best work is in the field of experimental theatre. This LEAR is not set on a stage, thus freeing it from the overly confined spacing which befalls all of Willy's work. It is not a theatrical production of any kind, for example, there is no music beyond what is heard and required in the scenes ( the FOOL playing his lute, etc ) and the sound effects are nature's wonders. The usual stage allegories are done away with, and the strong scenes, like the storm/thunder moments are actually done outside in an environment that I don't think many actors enjoy working on, and with, ... it is very difficult to act with robes that weight nearly 50 to 75 lbs and on top of it are wet,... and the scene continues,...
The actors here are Paul Scofield as LEAR (geesus h charrrist); John Hurt (ever wonder where he got started?); Diana Rigg; Cyril Cusach; Patrick Magee, Ian Hogg. Stunning camera work and editing. The most realistic costumes you ever will see in a Willy production. Filmed in northern England in the area where it would have taken place.
It all makes for a rather 'brutal' presentation of Willy's, but one which is reminiscent of the same appeal which Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet did in the late sixties. It is thorough, it is honest, and lays it on the line. If you like literature, and an occasional Willy, take a dose of this.
Peter Brook's other fine films worth seeing:
Lord of Flies (early sixties) the novel is Henry
Fielding, and the children are something else. The American remake a few years
back couldn't kiss the r... end of this one.
Meetings With Remarkable Men (mid seventies, occasionally found in the shelves of the new age stores,... gasp, GASP, ...) based on Gurdjieff's books and life, with incredible scenery in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, and northern India. And the ending will just floor you. Features Terence Stamp, Athol Fugard (he single handedly owes his fame to Peter Brook's productions of his work,......in SOUTH AFRICA, too,.... they weren't about to insult the best art in the land, were they,... Athol is black,... Sizwe Banshe is Dead and several other plays.), and many others.
The Mahabharata. With the script by himself and Jean Claude Carriere, who had written many films for Luis Bunuel, Jean Luc Godard, and Francois Truffaut, they put together a ten hour play,... about the beginning of earth, and the Gods that ruled it then, based on the book of the same name from India. The book is older than the oldest Hebrew scriptures known to man, by at least five thousand years. The play had first been done in Paris, where Mr. Brook has a special theatre/acting school comprising of actors from at least thirteen or fourteen different cultural backgrounds. The production, which was shown on PBS a few months ago, was adapted for film. And it was an experience which was hard to top.
A midsummer's night dream ... traveled with it in the early sixties. Done in a frame like playground (I guess) much like the ones you find in the parks with sand on them, it featured Diana Rigg (The Avengers), David Warner (Straw Dogs, Morgan) and the Royal Shakespeare Company. There is a video of this production around in the black market. It is worth nearly $500.00 per copy.
Marat/Sade ... Most incredible play of the 20th century. Made Glenda Jackson, Ian Richardson, and Patrick Magee famous. Taken from the play by Peter Weiss, it was an incredible assault on the hierarchy of government,... a most revolutionary evening of theatre, if you wish to find out how Charlotte Corday killed Jean Paul Marat, the scene taken directly from the famous DAVID painting from the 18th century. If you are a theatre major, you must see this, and then decide if this kind of life is for you..... It is because of this production that John Lennon and Paul
McCartney went out and wrote Revolution and Revolution # 9 for the WHITE album.... there are direct moments from the play all over the album,... if you ever wonder where rock'n'roll got some inspiration.
Peter Brook's work is always challenging, and does not bang you over the head with 'heavy' meanings. But the intensity of the work, and how it's done will surely awake your mind up,... highly recommended for serious enthusiasts.
Please email me with questions and/or comments
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