King Lear: Masterpiece Theatre

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Overview

Ian Holm delivers an Emmy-nominated performance in this filmed adaptation of the classic Shakespearean tragedy King Lear. From director Richard Eyre (Stage Beauty), the film traces the events that follow the titular monarch's decision to make his three daughters vie for his kingdom. Originally broadcast on the BBC, it was later shown in the U.S. on PBS as part of the Masterpiece Theatre series.
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Overview

Ian Holm delivers an Emmy-nominated performance in this filmed adaptation of the classic Shakespearean tragedy King Lear. From director Richard Eyre (Stage Beauty), the film traces the events that follow the titular monarch's decision to make his three daughters vie for his kingdom. Originally broadcast on the BBC, it was later shown in the U.S. on PBS as part of the Masterpiece Theatre series.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Access to the Masterpiece Theatre website; Scene selection within acts for classroom use
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
Director Richard Eyre's King Lear is a daring adventure into minimalism: The set is nearly as spare of adornment as Ian Holm's Lear when he doffs his garments during Act III's storm scene. But the austerity of the set and the brief nudity of Holm serve only to accentuate the naked ignorance, greed, and enmity that consume the characters in Shakespeare's pitch-black play about family relationships gone wrong. Act I opens in an unadorned red room lit by candles and torches and furnished only with a table and chairs; sitting or standing around the table are men and women in plain neck-to-toe black, gray, or scarlet costumes. Though the Eyre adaptation forsakes lavish background trappings, the souls of the characters are richly embellished with the full gamut of human emotions. Holm is simply magnificent as a Lear who tumbles from the zenith of power to the depths of weakness and despair. Victoria Hamilton, meanwhile, plays Cordelia with the right mix of conviction and resolve, and Amanda Redman (Regan) and Barbara Flynn (Goneril) portray the evil sisters first with oozing flattery, then with open belligerence and cruelty. Michael Bryant is quite competent as the "wise fool," but his lines are sometimes difficult to understand. The production aired on television in 1998 after being staged in London in 1997 by the Royal National Theatre. It won the acclaim of critics and earned Holm the 1997 Olivier Award of the Society of London Theatre. King Lear today rivals Hamlet as the most frequently performed Shakespeare play, perhaps because modern audiences understand that it is as much about today's complex and troubled families as it is about the family of a dotty old king from long ago.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/28/2004
  • UPC: 783421337893
  • Original Release: 1997
  • Rating:

  • Source: Wgbh / Pbs
  • Time: 2:30:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ian Holm King Lear
Barbara Flynn Goneril
Amanda Redman Regan
Victoria Hamilton Cordelia
Adrian Irvine
Finbar Lynch
David Lyon
Paul Rhys
Michael Simkins
Technical Credits
Richard Eyre Director
Sue Birtwistle Producer
Rebecca Eaton Executive Producer
Dominic Muldowney Score Composer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Act I: Know That We Have Divided in Three Our Kingdom [22:26]
2. Act I: Some Villain Hath Done Me Wrong [5:47]
3. Act I: How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth it Is to Have a Thankless Child [15:50]
4. Act II: Call Not Your Stocks for Me, I Serve the King [8:31]
5. Act II: Edgar I Nothing Am [13:16]
6. Act III: Blow, Winds, and Crack Your Cheeks [3:16]
7. Act III: Poor Tom's a-Cold [7:45]
8. Act III: His Wits Are Gone [2:25]
9. Act III: Pluck out His Eyes [4:50]
10. Act IV: Know'st Thou the Way to Dover? [4:22]
11. Act IV: Our Aged Father's Right [6:34]
12. Act IV: Ay, Every Inch a King [3:30]
13. Act IV: I Am a Very Foolish Fond Old Man [11:15]
14. Act V: The Weight of This Sad Time We Must Obey [10:17]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Scene Selection
   DVD-ROM Features
   Acessibility Options
   Other Products of Interest
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    masterpiece theater: king lear is truly a masterpiece

    i never read or even saw king lear until my junior year in high school. after seeing this version of king lear in school, i loved it immediately. i enjoyed reading king lear and due to both factors king lear is now my favorite work by shakespeare. the fool is hilarious but equally wise. Ian holm does a fantastic job of playing the senile old king that forsakes the true and embraces the false. truly a film worthy of being part of a home collections, especially for shakespeare lovers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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