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Will Shakespeare


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Product Details

  • Actors: Tim Curry
  • Directors: Mark Cullingham, Robert Knights
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: December 16, 2008
  • Run Time: 303 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A2VNEU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,639 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Will Shakespeare" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Emmy Award-winner Tim Curry (The Hunt for Red October, Clue) and Golden Globe-winner Ian McShane (Deadwood, Sexy Beast) star in the riveting story about the great Bard's rise to fame.

Set in the sixteenth century, WILL SHAKESPEARE begins with the lesser known story of Shakespeare's humble beginnings and youthful obscurity in Avon. As he struggles to survive as a playwright, Shakespeare faces multiple obstacles, including the black plague and various personal tragedies, but defeats all obstacles to achieve unprecedented success in London.

Written by John Mortimer (Rumpole of the Bailey, Tea with Mussolini), this engrossing six-part miniseries renders the sights and sounds of Elizabethan England in exquisite detail. Rich in both tragedy and deliciously cheeky humor, this series moves through Shakespeare's untold story with dramatic flair.

Customer Reviews

Tim Curry's crowning glory to say the least.
puppyfan
Fiction it may be, but Mortimer came up with a plausible picture of the relationship between Shakespeare and Southampton, as well as his muse in the dark lady sonnets.
Linda Pagliuco
Real people don't talk like that now, and they didn't talk like that back in those days.
GetReal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa Thordarson on February 13, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This 5-hour-and-change miniseries is proof positive, as if any were needed, that Tim Curry is one of the greatest actors alive. His presence alone elevates this single-camera biopic from complete mediocrity to something approaching supreme quality.

Most of the series is strangely cast and over-acted, but Tim Curry's portrayal of Shakespeare is effortless, nuanced, and bubbling with precarious undercurrents of sadness, frustration, and the inevitable tortured confusion that is to be expected of an artist like William Shakespeare. It is well worth trudging through the few scenes which do not prominently feature Curry to see him play his part with such mastery.

Elizabethan aficionados will be delighted with the costumes, which seem richly and accurately imagined and gorgeously executed. It's a shame, however, given the excellence of the costumes, the ambiance of the natural lighting, the beautiful sets and Tim's perfect performance, that the single-camera format somewhat cheapens the aesthetic.

This DVD is a must-have for any Tim Curry fan or those who love all things Shakespeare. Those outside those two demographics will probably not enjoy it. I, however, did, very much. 4 out 5 stars, mostly on the strength of Tim Curry's performance.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Linda Pagliuco VINE VOICE on September 21, 2010
Format: DVD
For this 1978 miniseries, writer John Mortimer fashioned a dramatic biography of Shakespeare's time in London. So little factual evidence is available, that I suppose Mortimer can be forgiven for inventing some romantic, sometimes swashbuckling, fiction. If you're expecting something polished and modern, this DVD is not for you, its 1970's production values sadly in evidence. Actually, this presentation comes across as more of a stage play than a movie, but since WS made his living as a playwright, that struck me as more than fitting. Tim Curry did a creditable job with Will, as did Nicholas Clay with his Earl of Southampton and Ian McShane as Kit Marlowe. (It's a treat to see the youthfulness of the actors, many of whom are now playing the older men that they've become.) Fiction it may be, but Mortimer came up with a plausible picture of the relationship between Shakespeare and Southampton, as well as his muse in the dark lady sonnets. It's also satisfying to see WS in his role as father. But where this production shines brightest is in its depiction of life in Elizabethan London - the costumes and sets, the ever present threat of disease, the gap between peasant and aristocrat, and, above all, the smells and sounds of the city and its people. Almost as good as a time machine; better, perhaps, because we needn't fear the plague!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Donald P. Ridgway on December 27, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I too had modest expectations, but we enjoyed this miniseries quite a lot. Well, of course no one really knows details of Shakespeare's life, but it's at least plausible, and does a nice job of putting the man in historical and cultural context. As noted in other reviews, the theater lore is fun as well. It's a bit episodic, true; well, it's a TV thing in six episodes.

Down side: ghastly blaring music. Also: no subtitles, which I need when negotiating those Brit accents. Especially with the damned music competing at 95 decibels.

As a moderately-severe sucker for Shakesperiana, I say try it. It's not dreadfully expensive.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Poirier on June 21, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The only serious complaint I have about this series is that it was shot on video rather than on 35mm film, or even on 16mm film. For heaven's sake why? They obviously invested a lot in the wonderful period costumes and sets, so why did the producers not go whole hog and splurge for film?

Tim Curry as Shakespeare is spot on. Much better than (the very good) Joseph Fiennes is in "Shakespeare in Love". He's witty, human, clever, and realistic. He does NOT overact as he is usually very well paid to do; Curry takes this role very seriously. Many of the supporting cast are Shakesperian actors, and it shows.

The sets and costume are appropriately dirty and grubby and they reek of authenticity. When Shakespeare arrives in London penniless and still young, he rides in the back of a hay cart and straws remain in his hair for a little while. The inns are dark and smoky, no one has enough time or water to wash, and yet the atmosphere is lively and thick with fun.

John Mortimer, a lawyer famous in TV for creating the erudite eccentric Horace Rumpole, delivers a first rate script with a very plausible story. We do know a lot about Shakespeare, much more in fact than we do about most commoners of the time. There are many gaps, things we'll never really know about him and Mortimer fills them in inventively without ever making outlandish conjectures.

If you can get by the video and the production values of the 1970s, you'll enjoy a funny, witty, thoughtful TV series. Recommended!

Vincent Poirier, Tokyo
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charmerci on April 15, 2012
Format: DVD
For years, I've tried to read Shakespeare without much success. But being the greatest writer in the English language, he obviously was a fascinating character. I don't like the over-projecting style of theatrical plays as this is played. At first, I was like, eh. But after the first episode was done. I was hooked. I wanted to know what happened next. I wasn't crazy about the dialogue or some of the characters but there was something about the overall presentation that kept me watching. Part of it was definitely the settings and costumes which were wonderful. I loved the gritty sets.

I can understand why many people wouldn't like this production. If you don't like it by the end of the first episode, it's time to move on to something else.
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