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BBC Shakespeare Collection - Love's Labour's Lost (1985) (DVD)

Jonathan Kent , Maureen Lipman , Elijah Moshinsku    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: 2.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

BBC Shakespeare Collection - Love's Labour's Lost (1985) (DVD) + All's Well That Ends Well - BBC Shakespeare Collection [1981] + Two Gentlemen of Verona: BBC Shakespeare Collection (1983) DVD
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Product details

  • Actors: Jonathan Kent, Maureen Lipman, Jenny Agutter, Christopher Blake, David Warner
  • Directors: Elijah Moshinsku
  • Writers: William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Shaun Sutton
  • Format: Colour, PAL, Mono, Subtitled, Full Screen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: BBC Worldwide
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000KPH5OO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,628 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


In 1978, the BBC set itself the task of filming all of William Shakespeare's plays for television. The resulting productions, renowned for their loyalty to the text, utilised the best theatrical and television directors and brought highly praised performances from leading contemporary actors - LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST [1985] When the King of Navarre and three of his lords vow to renounce women and devote themselves to study, they have forgotten the forthcoming arrival of the Princess of France and her attractive ladies-in-waiting. This production of Shakespeare's comedy highlights his satire of intellectual pride and pedantry. Wit and word-play are the weapons in the play's sparkling conflicts and this cast perform magnificently in capturing the perfect tone for Shakepeare's playful and elaborate poetry.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Helen
I was very disappointed by the Branagh musical and all the more so now I've seen again this BBC version which I did originally see when it was first shown but had forgotten all of it. Watching it again, I found it so very good that I shall probably buy a copy. You would hardly know it's the same story as the Branach. It's a courtly piece in this version as indeed it should be, full of courtly wit and style, beautifully set and dressed and perfectly acted. Branagh's version trivialises it and also commits the crime of being boring whilst Branagh is miscast as Berowne and I wasn't much impressed by any of the acting.

In this splendid Beeb version the King and young Lords are so well acted. The ladies are young but stately as they should be. The humour is light and convincing. It's a fairly insubstantial tale with very little action whilst wonderful witty talk fills the time.

So I enjoyed this immensely whilst I would happily forget Branagh's version.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem in the night of witty vanity 23 Nov 2010
This comedy is in fact an anti-comedy because it is tragic, yet it is a gem, a diamond, a beauty deep in the dark of the night. Of course Shakespeare is mocking himself and turning us into foolish turkeys and gullible geese ready to be roasted for some Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration. He does not forget any of his tricks to entertain us and to make us believe he is telling us a happy and funny story.

Four gentlemen and four gentle women, on each side one is of royal blood: the perfect structure of four plus four equal eight. But there will be no wedding except for one of the three worthies, who are five plus a woman, which makes them six, the saving gift of Solomon's wisdom, and the happy ones will be Hector/ Armado and Jaquenetta, a country lass, as a sort of killing envoi to the play that was lost anyway from the very title and its three L that sounded like a death toll over, behind and under Plymouth's Burial Hill.

But the play is a beauty, a gem and a diamond, not because it is tragic but because it is written in a language that is so beautiful and witty that we lose our wits in no time and we get some loose screws in our brains after two pages. Shakespeare accumulates sonnets and all sorts of other metaphysical poems, as brilliant as John Donne's and his own actually. Just for that pleasure to listen to the most shiny and witty language of the many past centuries, this play should be taught to every child in kindergarten. No use trying in universities: they are too old to even consider love as being a serious game with one's heart and a dangerous hunt for one's soul.

But Shakespeare uses disguises tricked and tricky of course because of the masks and the exchanged identifying presents.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wonderful 18 Aug 2008
I really enjoyed this version of a very difficult Shakespere play. It was witty and full of wonderful acting.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear. 11 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase
not his best play. Production good but the play is lost in words and jokes I could not understand. Little action. very static, but far too wordy
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Strangely boring 30 April 2010
A critic review of this production commented that the male actors were frequently outperformed by their own wigs. I can only agree; but the blame seemed to lie more with the paceless direction than the limits of the cast. Difficult to find anything to laugh at here, yet the slowness of it allowed me time to count several jokes in the opening scene and watch each one fall flat. I was already running out of patience when we got as far as the Princess and her ladies, and this was where I switched off in disgust: yet again, rather than cast a black thespian in a black role, they chose to apply some heavy tan to a white person. Honestly, if they weren't going to at least try to respect whatever Shakespeare was trying to do, why bother at all?
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