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Beckett on Film Set
DVD | Box Set
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2003 PEABODY AWARD WINNER!
This acclaimed film project includes all 19 plays of Samuel Beckett, considered the most significant Irish playwright of the 20th century. Many of these outstanding filmed productions have received critical acclaim at prestigious international film festivals around the world including New York, Toronto and Venice. Beckett on Film has brought together some of the most noted directors of our day including: Atom Egoyan, Damien Hirst, Neil Jordan, Conor McPherson, Damien O'Donnell, David Mamet, Anthony Minghella, Karel Reisz and Patricia Rozema. A list of distinguished actors including exceptional performances by Michael Gambon, the late Sir John Gielgud, John Hurt, Jeremy Irons, Julianne Moore, Harold Pinter, Alan Rickman and Kirsten Scott-Thomas.
THIS 4 DVD 19 Play Set includes:
Waiting for Godot (running time: 2 hours)
Not I (running time: 14 minutes)
Rough for Theatre I (running time: 20 minutes)
Ohio Impromptu (running time: 12 minutes)
Krapp's Last Tape (running time: 58 minutes)
What Where (running time: 12 minutes)
Footfalls (running time: 28 minutes)
Come and Go (running time: 8 minutes)
Act Without Words I (running time: 16 minutes)
Happy Days (running time: 1 hour 19 minutes)
Catastrophe (running time: 7 minutes)
Rough for Theatre II (running time: 30 minutes)
Breath (running time: 45 seconds)
That Time (running time: 20 minutes)
Endgame (running time: 1 hour 24 minutes)
Act Without Words II (running time: 11 minutes)
A Piece of Monologue (running time: 20 minutes)
Play (running time: 16 minutes)
Rockaby (running time: 14 minutes)
Plus a 52 minute Documentary on the making of the Beckett on Film Project
*Color and Black & White
The hugely ambitious Beckett on Film project gathered together 19 different directors to turn the 19 stage works written by Samuel Beckett into films. The range is vast--from the 45-second Breath to the two hours of his most famous play, Waiting for Godot--but all the works reflect Beckett's penetrating obsessions with memory, regret, and the simple, excruciating experience of being. Not every film succeeds--like all great theater, Beckett's plays demand interaction with a live audience to express their full intent--and though scholars tout Beckett's every word as genius, several works are slight (Catastrophe, Ohio Impromptu, or What Where will leave many viewers unimpressed). But all the plays feature Beckett's uniquely distilled language; the greatest of them--including Waiting for Godot (in which two tramps pass the time while they wait for someone who may never come), Endgame (in which a blind man and his lame servant bicker and joke as the world declines), and Play (in which a love triangle is bitterly recalled by two women and a man in urns)--are astonishing in both their potent humor and piercing grief.
Though Beckett's stature drew in an impressive array of directors (including Anthony Minghella, Patricia Rozema, and Neil Jordan) and actors (including Jeremy Irons, Julianne Moore, Alan Rickman, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Michael Gambon, and John Gielgud), some of the finest work comes from relative unknowns. But the gem of the collection is Krapp's Last Tape, about an old man revisiting his life through recordings he has made throughout his years. It's the perfect marriage of text, actor (the incomparable John Hurt), and director (Atom Egoyan, The Sweet Hereafter); in their hands, the play spins from deeply funny to deeply sad, all with only the slightest dim of the light in Hurt's eyes. --Bret FetzerSee all Editorial Reviews
- 19 plays on 4 discs
- Documentary: "Check the Gate: Putting Beckett on Film" (52 min.)
- Stills gallery
- Special souvenir book
- Interviews with John Crowley, John Hurt, Richard Eyre, Charles Garrad, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Enda Huges, Neil Jordan, Anthony Minghella, Patricia Rozema, Charles Sturridge, and Kieron J. Walsh
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Unfortunately the longer plays (Godot, Happy Days, and Endgame) suffer from the directors' mistaken impression that Beckett's characters must be decrepit, disgusting, and/or humorless. Quite the contrary, there is levity and compassion to be found in Beckett's work, and without it his meditations become intolerable rather than incisive. Godot has its moments, but it's not nearly as effective (or funny) as any number of previous productions.
Pacing is also a significant issue here. Beckett's plays (excepting Not I and Play) demand a very slow reading, with an abundance of silence. Many of these adaptations simply plow through the texts with no apparent consideration of heft or nuance; Rockaby is probably the most egregious example. Other directorial liberties make Not I and What Where wholly unacceptable; these simply cannot be considered Beckett's work.
Happily, more Beckett productions are becoming available on DVD. You can purchase Happy Days with Irene Worth's excellent performance on this very site, three plays (Eh Joe, Footfalls, Rockaby) starring Beckett's favorite actress Billie Whitelaw, and a DVD of Beckett Directs Beckett (the three long plays) hopefully in the near future.
-I bought this as a GIFT, but I'm embarrassed to give it as a gift. They're going to think I'm giving them a DVD set that I already watched/owned. Either these DVDs were very poorly packaged and suffered a very bumpy ride OR they are used. Either way, VERY disappointed.
It never ceases to amaze how so much star power can do so much damage. Remember the Broadway travesty of Godot a few years ago with Robin Williams?
So, Engame is a beautiful performance. all the Gaelic colloquial nuance of Beckett's language,perfectly understood and delivered in a heightened naturalism that is a joy to behold. The only problem is, one can NOT behold it because of the hack direction. Done in obsessively Television Direction School multi-camera work, anytime a charecter speaks or moves he is held in extreme talking-head close-up. next actor speaks, close up for him, then back to the other actor and so on and so on until the stomach of the viewer churns from this sea-sick demntia of camera close-ups,reaction shots, two shots and flashing long shots. So you don't have a play, or a film, you end up with a Television show of utter convention and utter unwatchability. i suggest people stay away from this possibly well-intentioned but decadent and unwatchable and expensive lump of Beckett Meets Hollywood by way of London.