Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
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All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus
Cymbeline
Hamlet
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Othello
Pericles
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale
Shakespeareana

Available versions

1953: Andrew McCullough

1971: Peter Brook

1971: Grigori Kozintsev (Korol Lir)

1974: Edwin Sherin

1976: Tony Davenall

1982: Jonathan Miller

1983: Michael Elliott

1998: Richard Eyre

1999: Brian Blessed

2008: Trevor Nunn

2015: Alexander Barnett


Adaptations

1985: Ran

1987: King Lear

1997: A Thousand Acres

2000: The King is Alive

2002: King of Texas


Production drama

2003: Slings and Arrows (Season 3)


Related

2015: Shakespeare Uncovered, Season 2, Episode 6


King Lear
1982: Jonathan Miller

This is the BBC Shakespeare Plays treatment of King Lear, and as such it has fairly limited production values, but the performances are worth looking at, and sometimes the whole production achieves a level that is considerably greater than the sum of its parts.

The art direction in this version of Lear is a bit peculiar: the play is given in a somber, almost Puritanical, late Elizabethan garb. It is a color production that seems to go out of its way to pretend to be black and white. The camera work dwells so much on very tight closeups that at points the whole seems very claustrophobic. For all that, however, it contains some moments of real energy. Miller’s productions were not (I think) of the caliber of some of the earlier entries in the series, but they are interestingly directed.

Michael Hordern was perhaps one of the least appreciated actors of his overall ability. He was often pigeon-holed in comic roles (e.g., A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), but his range was much wider, and here he shows something of that range. To the role of Lear he brings a classic sensibility of what the play is about, and how the character can be portrayed without a particular angle or agenda or overlay of any sort. It does not, perhaps, break any remarkable new ground — but it is a very solid representation of a fairly canonical understanding of the play.


Captain: Tim Brown

Cordelia: Brenda Blethyn

Curan: Ken Stott

Doctor: George Howe

Duke of Albany: John Bird

Duke of Burgundy: David Weston

Duke of Cornwall: Julian Curry

Earl of Gloucester: Norman Rodway

Earl of Kent: John Shrapnel

Edgar: Anton Lesser

Edmund: Michael Kitchen

First Gentleman: Iain Armstrong

First Servant: Stuart Blake

Fool: Frank Middlemass

Goneril: Gillian Barge

Herald: Adam Kurakin

King Lear: Michael Hordern

King of France: Harry Waters

Officer: Richard Albrecht

Oswald: John Grillo

Regan: Penelope Wilton

Second Gentleman: John Dallimore

Second Servant: Tony Sympson

Third Gentleman: Fraser Wilson

Third Servant: Peter Walmsley