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Stage Beauty (2005)

Billy Crudup , Claire Danes , Richard Eyre  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Rupert Everett, Derek Hutchinson, Mark Letheren
  • Directors: Richard Eyre
  • Writers: Jeffrey Hatcher
  • Producers: Amir Jacob Malin, Hardy Justice, James D. Stern, Jane Rosenthal, Jill Tandy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: March 8, 2005
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00079HZUM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,804 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Stage Beauty" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Rupert Everett, Tom Wilkinson. The compelling story of the last man to play a woman on stage in a Shakespearean play, and the woman who replaces him after the King declares that women may perform in public theatre. 2004/color/109 min/R/fullscreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
Perhaps thought patterns are changing and prejudices against gay characters are indeed abating. At least hearing the audience delight after viewing STAGE BEAUTY makes a case for more mainstream male actors to shed the fear of taking on roles that feature gender and sexuality variations: Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell, Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Antonio Banderas, Javier Bardem, Rodrigo Santoro, Gael Garcia Bernal, et al have all performed sensitively as gay men despite their macho image - the once small list is now respectably large. And now add Billy Crudup and Ben Chaplin to that ever-growing list. Bravo to that change.

STAGE BEAUTY (in the screenplay version of his own play 'The Compleat Female Stage Beauty' by Jeffrey Hatcher) is set in the mid 17th century with all the frills and foibles of British dandies and ladies visually intact. This is the time when female roles were assumed by male actors (the theater was simply no place for ladies to participate) and we are introduced to Mr. Kynaston (in a brilliant, multifaceted performance by Billy Crudup!) as he portrays Desdemona in Shakespeare's 'Othello'. He is attended by a dresser Maria Hughes (Claire Danes, another superlative acting achievement) who longs to act and steals away after performances in the theater run by actor Betterton (Tom Wilkinson) to a tavern where she assumes the memorized roles Kynaston performs on the royally approved stage.

Kynaston has been raised to portray women on stage (and indeed in life) and responds to men as a woman (his lover is the Duke of Buckingham - Ben Chaplin).
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Saturday, Othello...the other one..." October 8, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Comparisons between "Stage Beauty" and "Shakespeare in Love" are inevitable, but this 2004 film does not suffer much by the contrast to that Oscar winner for Best Picture. Both films deal with the conventions of the English stage that dictated the roles of women be played by men and while both have a woman who wants to play a woman's role, this one has a man who wants to play only women's roles. Both films conclude with a live performance in which the focal character ends up playing the opposite of their original roles. Both films are intricately involved with the Shakespeare plays being performed to such an extent that it goes beyond life imitating art. But whereas "Shakespeare in Love" was about writing and love, "Stage Beauty" is about acting and love, and I think it is ultimately more about its primary artistic focus than about romance.

When it comes to performing the classical plays of Shakespeare or the tragedies of the ancient Greeks, I believe in realistic (nee naturalistic) acting rather than following the acting conventions of those periods in contemporary performances. I enjoy those conventions, but I also think that if you can break the poetic constraints of the dialogue you can make those texts come alive for contemporary audiences. So one of the reasons "Stage Beauty" resonates so strong for me is that it not only endorses but also celebrates the idea that such realism can have much more of a profound impact on an audience that those historically accurate sytlistic conventions.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Aesthetics of Deception December 16, 2004
I saw this film the evening after seeing Being Julia and thoroughly enjoyed both. Much of Stage Beauty is based on historical material which Helen Wilcox examines in Women in Literature in Britain, 1500-1700. Jeffrey Hatcher's screenplay is based on his own Compleat Female Stage Beauty, a play first performed in 1999. We know that Edward (Ned) Kynaston (1640-1706) was among the last and reputedly the best of the male actors of female parts in dramas performed prior to the Restoration period. Following his coronation, King Charles II decreed that females would be permitted to appear on stage in roles previously performed only by males. For many male actors, the subsequent transition was very, very difficult. There are certain parallels with the difficulties that stars such as John Gilbert had during the transition from silent films to "the talkies."

What we have in Stage Beauty is a delightful presentation of that age and, more specifically, of Kynaston's struggles (brilliantly presented by Billy Crudup) to salvage his career in juxtaposition with those of his dresser Maria (Claire Danes), an unskilled but aspiring actress, who seeks Ned's tutelage to advance her own career. Frankly, I did not immediately recognize the always-superb Rupert Everett in the role of Charles II. Others in the supporting cast include Ben Chaplin (as George Villars, Duke of Buckingham) and Tom Wilkinson (as Thomas Betterton). Historically, Betterton was once highly praised for his performance in Shakespeare's Othello...in the role of Ophelia. In Stage Beauty, Kynaston plays Ophelia to Betterton's Moor of Venice. After Kynaston rejects the advances of the lecherous Sir Charles Sedley (Richard Griffiths), Sedley hires thugs to beat Kynaston so severely that he can no longer perform until his wounds have healed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I just like Billy Crudup and I was pleasantly surprised that I ...
I just like Billy Crudup and I was pleasantly surprised that I liked this movie as well. Before purchasing it I had never heard of it.
Published 10 days ago by michele ascunsion
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than I had expected
Well performed and produced. Much better than I had expected. The historical aspects are well-done (and fun) and the concepts of gender on the stage were well discussed as well... Read more
Published 17 days ago by glister
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
thank you
Published 2 months ago by P. Hofmeister
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie.
Great acting and a powerful script. Don't miss this one.
Published 3 months ago by John Deere Fans
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun movie
It's a fun movie if you are into theatre/acting/shakespeare--but you might not enjoy it too much if you're not.
Published 3 months ago by Serena
5.0 out of 5 stars Stage Beauty
I give this product five stars because it is one of my favorite movies. I highly recommend this product for all to see.
Published 6 months ago by Wildgeyser
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting for History
Interesting to find out so much about theater in the Shakespearian period, Also is still a practice in Japan I think.
Published 6 months ago by Jack Grinnage
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative History Lesson
Beautifully created, with excellent acting and gorgeous cosumes and sets. I loved i and watched three times. I have passed i on o a friend/
Published 6 months ago by charles S. Lindberg4127
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny! This is a make you laugh and cry, heartwarming...
Truly Fabulous movie! I wasn't sure if I would like it in the beginning, however, as the movie progressed I was mesmerized. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Windwalker
4.0 out of 5 stars I wished it was more
This movie was recommended to me by a mentor. I was hoping for deeper feelings & the
male actor to show more passion. It was fair, but not as moving as hoped for.
Published 7 months ago by Rev. Donna M. Swindells
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