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  • William Shakespeare's King Lear (1988) [VHS]
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William Shakespeare's King Lear (1988) [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Patrick Magee, Ray Smith, Wendy Allnut, Ann Lynn, Beth Harris
  • Format: Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Hbo Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: October 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301930517
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,497 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Patrick Magee stars in this Shakespearean tragedy about a foolish king who surrounds himself with treacherous flatterers while banishing those who remain true to him.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Caution -- while some of these reviews refer to this as Peter Brook's film (starring Paul Scofield, Irene Worth), this is a 1988 version. (I wanted the Brook but was sent this one instead.) The description of the film has been updated (Magee is the director) but the Maltin and other reviews are still confusing.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Alexander teliute@hotmail.com on November 24, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Bela Balazs claims in his essay from The Theory of Film that "good close-ups radiate a tender human attitude in the contemplation of hidden things, a delicate solicitude, a gentle bend over the intimacies of life-in-the-miniature, a warm sensibility". In Peter Brooks filmic rendition of King Lear, the subtle use of close-ups reveals the inner dialogue within the characters. At first look the actors portray an expressionless rendition of Shakespeare's characters, yet a more careful look reveals how Brook's close-ups display the cracks in the characters countenances, which in turn reveal their true emotions. The lack of a musical score draws the viewer into the minute intricacies of Lear's expressions and the reactions of those around him. Each character appears to be hardened by the wind torn setting and the exclusion of any emotionally recharging scenes makes Brook's film unremittingly bleak. This movie requires a very patient individual. I think many have incredulously cast it aside as being boring. Yet when viewed carefully one can see the subtle beauty of Brook's filming style.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on June 22, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I strongly disagree with Frank's opinion of this film, top-ten reviewer or not. This is a monumental (and I don't use that term frivolously) adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy. Those who are familiar with Peter Brook's career, know how much care and preparation he brings to each enterprise he's engaged in. Those, like me, who were lucky enough to be in the audience for his stage productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream in London, and his Carmen at Lincoln Center, will never forget the experiences. His films are uniformly first-rate. I put him on a par with Kubrik as the most interesting directors of the last 40 years. Think back to Brooks' Lord of the Flies and Marat/Sade and of the impact they had on the artistic landscape in their day.
This is far from being a boring rendition of Lear. It is absolutely the most chilling and disturbing treatment of Shakespeare's masterpiece ever filmed and probably ever produced (taking in stage productions). My skin still crawls when I recall Gloucester's blinding sequence. Goneril and Regan are the most cold-blooded women in the history of film. Edmund is no bargain, either. Scofield always underplays his roles, but he is the best in the business at it. If you want over-the-top brilliance, stick to Olivier, but both are equally effective in their own way.
I fervently urge you not to let one negative review dissuade you from buying this film. It is in the truest sense of the word, a classic.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on February 7, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
In the opening moments, I could not believe how badly Magee sleepwalked (rather, sleepsat) through his lines. Well, I thought, art of the characterization. But he became worse and worse and I simply stopped watching somewhere in Act II when he demanded "Is the world asleep?" and struck the table with a mild tap to show his annoyance. This is a pity because the rest of the cast in this obviously low-budget production is at least adequate. This should be a last choice for anyone wanting a standard version of this play.
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