The Thames Shakespeare Collection: MacBeth/King Lear/Romeo & Juliet/Twelfth Night [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Interviews with Kenneth Branagh, Ian McKellan and Patrick Mower
  • "Romeo & Juliet - A Family Feud" featurette
  • Cast and director biographies
  • Timeline of William Shakespeare's life and plays
  • Interactive menus
  • Scene selection

Synopsis

Macbeth
This 1976 Royal Shakespeare Company production of Macbeth was originally broadcast on Thames Television in 1978. The company's artistic director Trevor Dunn directs the cast on a small bare stage with mostly black costumes and minimal props. After the witches (Susan Dury, Judith Harte, Marie Kean) announce the prophecy that Macbeth (Ian McKellen) will be the next king, the elderly King Duncan (Griffith Jones) proclaims that his son, Malcolm (Roger Rees), will be heir to the throne. Lady Macbeth (Judi Dench) learns about the witches' prophecy in a letter, prompting he to ask the gods to remove her femininity so she can make her weak husband kill the king. When Duncan comes to visit Macbeth's castle, he is murdered in his sleep. Macbeth kills the guards, claiming they were the murderers. In fear of their own lives, Duncan's sons flee the country and Macbeth is crowned King of Scotland. Riddled with guilt, Macbeth goes mad and sees horrible visions while the witches announce the prophecy of his downfall. Also starring John Woodvine as Banquo, Ian McDiarmid as the porter, and Bob Peck as Macduff. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

King Lear
Patrick Magee plays the aging and confused monarch in this made-for-television adaptation of one of Shakespeare's most resonant tragedies. When aging King Lear (Patrick Magee) asks his children to profess their love for him so he may divide his estate accordingly, his youngest daughter, Cordelia (Wendy Allnutt), gives an answer that speaks of modesty and practicality, while Regan (Ann Lynn) and Goneril (Beth Harris) offer more flowery tributes. Lear mistakes Cordelia's good sense for contempt and forces her to leave his land, while Regan and Goneril are allowed to divide his holdings; however, it isn't until much later than Lear sees the error of his ways, and comes to understand his older daughters are using his growing senility for their own purposes. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Twelfth Night
Part of the Thames Shakespeare Collection, this production of Twelfth Night was adapted for television by renowned actor and director Kenneth Branagh in 1988. Performed by the Renaissance Theatre Company, this classic comic tale of romance and confused identities features performances by acclaimed actors Caroline Langrishe and Richard Briers. ~ Dana Rowader, Rovi

Romeo and Juliet
Joan Kemp-Welch's version of Shakespeare's classic Romeo and Juliet follows the original storyline faithfully. The star crossed lovers meet at a masquerade ball, fall in love, and learn that their feuding families will never allow them to live their lives together. Eventually, through a series of misunderstandings and lies, the pair plays out their tragic fate. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Ian McKellen
    Ian McKellen - Macbeth
  • Judi Dench
    Judi Dench - Lady Macbeth
  • Griffith Jones
    Griffith Jones - Duncan
  • Bob Peck
    Bob Peck - Macduff
  • Roger Rees
    Roger Rees - Malcolm
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