Looking for Richard

Overview

A workshop of William Shakespeare's Richard III inspires actor-director Al Pacino's breezy documentary, which aims to make the playwright accessible to contemporary American audiences. Though a noteworthy cast of stage actors and Hollywood stars including Kevin Spacey, Winona Ryder, and Alec Baldwin gathers to work on the play, Looking for Richard does not present a straightforward filmed version of the scheming, deformed king's rise and fall. Instead, Pacino turns the cameras on the rehearsal process and his own...
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Overview

A workshop of William Shakespeare's Richard III inspires actor-director Al Pacino's breezy documentary, which aims to make the playwright accessible to contemporary American audiences. Though a noteworthy cast of stage actors and Hollywood stars including Kevin Spacey, Winona Ryder, and Alec Baldwin gathers to work on the play, Looking for Richard does not present a straightforward filmed version of the scheming, deformed king's rise and fall. Instead, Pacino turns the cameras on the rehearsal process and his own exploration of Shakespeare's history and meaning. Scenes in full costume alternate with readings in street clothes, while interviews gather the opinions on the Bard of everyone from renowned scholars and Shakespearean actors to random New Yorkers. A trip to England allows brief visits to Shakespeare's birthplace and the Globe Theater, but Pacino's focus remains on the United States and his desire to prove that American actors can act the plays without mimicking their British counterparts. Clearly a labor of love for Pacino, the film benefits from his passionate persona and direct, no-nonsense attitude; while the performances may vary in quality, the film manifests a refreshingly casual, unpretentious, and enthusiastic approach to Shakespeare.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Al Pacino's intriguing documentary-cum-stage-production-cum-actor's-workshop ultimately works out to be a successful rumination on the enduring presence of Shakespeare and his most produced play, Richard III. The most interesting thing about the movie (other than that the person who seems to understand The Bard best is a blustering homeless man) is the presence and "performance" of Pacino. For a generation that grew up with Pacino's distinctively intense style, this glimpse into the workings of the man and his profession is absorbing. Over an unspecified amount of time, Pacino, along with the impressive cast, discusses and stages certain scenes, struggles to grasp the full meaning of the work, and ultimately tries to put Shakespeare in a modern context. If nothing else, Looking for Richard offers the chance to see how actors relate (or in the case of Winona Ryder, don't relate) to their material. This examination of actors and their roles in a play is reminiscent of 1994's Vanya on 42nd Street, or even the other Louis Malle, Andre Gregory, Wallace Shawn production, 1981's My Dinner With Andre.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/29/1997
  • UPC: 086162414237
  • Original Release: 1996
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Al Pacino Richard III
Harris Yulin Edward IV
Penelope Allen Elizabeth I
Alec Baldwin Clarence
Kevin Spacey Buckingham
Estelle Parsons Margaret
Kenneth Branagh Interviewee
Peter Brook Interviewee
John Gielgud Interviewee
Rosemary Harris
Derek Jacobi Interviewee
James Earl Jones Interviewee
Neal Jones
Kevin Kline Interviewee
Aidan Quinn Richmond
Vanessa Redgrave Interviewee
Winona Ryder Lady Anne
Technical Credits
Al Pacino Director, Producer, Screenwriter
William A. Anderson Editor
Ned Bastille Editor
Andre Betz Editor
Yvonne Blake Costumes/Costume Designer
Aude Bronson-Howard Costumes/Costume Designer
Pasquale A. Buba Editor
Steve Confer Cinematographer
Nina Kedrem Cinematographer
Frederic Kimball Screenwriter
Jon Kranhouse Cinematographer
Robert Leacock Cinematographer
Kevin Ritter Art Director
Deborah L. Scott Costumes/Costume Designer
Howard Shore Score Composer
William Teitler Producer
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2003

    fantastic

    Well who would have thought it, an america expalining Shakeshere with such clarity and vigour. This should be made compulsary in schools and maybe people will enjoy the search in understanding shakespere. I did'nt think Al Pancino could go up any higher in my estimation of him as an actor and human being, but there he goes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2003

    Inspiring

    I remember seeing the trailer for this movie in the theater and waiting for it to come out. Three years later I finally found it in a video store and I was not disappointed. Al Pacino, in taking one of the more difficult plays Shakespeare wrote, manages to inspire interest and understanding of the characters by examining the emotions behind their actions. A wonderful cast that is open with their rehersal process sheds light on the depth of their craft, thus separating true actors from those who are content to coast. A must see for all.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews