Looking for Richard
2008: Al Pacino
A documentary that emerged in the course of an apparently incomplete attempt to mount a production of Richard III in New York, this is one of the more fascinating pieces both in exploring the play itself and also in seeing how actors take the play on.
As such it is a mix of the amazingly insightful and the curiously wrong-headed. There are fragments of the paly planted here and there throughout, and at their best they are among the best pieces of Shakespeare (certainly of Richard III I have seen. Pacino himself is quite impressive; fragments with Penelope Allen as Queen Elizabeth are formidable.
The film is also a great piece of promotion for Shakespeare. Acting and staging scenes are interleaved with man-on-the-street interviews with those who have no idea who Shakespeare was and others who praise him (while still apparently somewhat vague on what he had to say).
At the same time, certain confusions betray the fact that nobody involved in the production seems to have understood what Shakespeare was up to. At one point, the cast is reading through the play and musing over the prophecy that is being used as the pretext for jailing Clarence: (“...but, as I can learn, he hearkens after prophecies and dreams; and from the cross-row plucks the letter “G”, and says a wizard told him that by “G” his issue disinherited should be; and, for my name of George begins with “G”, it follows in his thought that I am he.”) Having puzzled at this for a while, Pacino and a few others agree that “the letter G” should be amended to “the letter C” to make its reference to Clarence less confusing for modern audiences. It would of course do so (and would have done so for the original audience as well), but it completely overlooks the important fact that though prophecies are quite often misunderstood in Shakespeare, they never really go unfulfilled: and while George, Duke of Clarence, has in fact nothing to do with disinheriting Edward’s sons, Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, most certainly does.
There is some crude language that may be a problem for some viewers.
1st Murderer: Bruce MacVittie
2nd Murderer: Paul Guilfoyle
Bishop of Ely: Frederic Kimball
Catesby: Richard Cox
Halberd; Messenger: Phil Parolisi
Herself; Queen Elizabeth: Penelope Allen
Himself; Dorset: Gordon MacDonald
Himself; Duke of Clarence: Alec Baldwin
Himself; Earl of Buckingham: Kevin Spacey
Himself; Grey: Vincent Angell
Himself; Hastings: Kevin Conway
Himself; King Edward: Harris Yulin
Himself; Lord Stanley: Larry Bryggman
Himself; Richard III: Al Pacino
Himself; Rivers: Madison Arnold
Lady Anne: Winona Ryder
Lord Ellis : James Bulleit
Lovel: James Colby
Margaret: Estelle Parsons
Messenger: André Sogliuzzo
Messenger: Luke Toma
Messenger: Neal Jones
Mistress Shore: Julie Moret
Prince Edward: Timmy Prairie
Ratcliffe : Daniel von Bargen
Richmond: Aidan Quinn
Soldier: Marlon Pollick
Tyrell: Ira Lewis
Young Prince: Landon Prairie
Himself or herself::
F. Murray Abraham
James Earl Jones
Linda Iannella Scott