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Criterion Collection: Richard III [Blu-ray] [1955] [US Import]

Laurence Olivier , Ralph Richardson    Blu-ray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
Price: 30.39
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Criterion Collection: Richard III [Blu-ray] [1955] [US Import] + Henry V [Blu-ray]
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Product details

  • Actors: Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud
  • Format: Full Screen, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: 23 April 2013
  • Run Time: 158 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00B2BYY30
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,766 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



The third and final entry in Laurence Olivier's Shakespeare triptych, Richard III is an audacious portrait of a man determined to prove himself a villain. A pure master of the political stage, Richard deploys a barrage of odious, unscrupulous traps in an attempt to exercise complete control over his rivals. As the personification of evil impudence, Olivier portrays the Duke of Gloucester with such aplomb that he even lures the audience on to his side. This is true even as Richard engineers plots to murder his brother Clarence (John Gielgud), betray his cousin Buckingham (Ralph Richardson) and seduce his niece Lady Anne (Claire Bloom). From the play's famous opening lines ("Now is the winter of our discontent"), Olivier delivers every speech with truly Machiavellian splendour. As usual, his voice is a force of nature--a full-bodied coloratura at one moment, an earthy baritone cello a few beats later. As a director, Olivier fully realises but underplays the corners of the script that most directors would hinge their dramatisation on. But he can also play it large: Olivier's superb staging of the climactic battle rivals his work on Henry V. Though Richard is finally brought down by the whispered curses of Queen Margaret, the audience exits feeling that the journey has been both entertaining and complete. Regrettably, this would be Olivier's last Shakespeare film, as a planned adaptation of Macbeth was abandoned for financial reasons. Olivier justly received an Oscar nomination for his performance; and believe it or not, this film was the inspiration for the original Blackadder! --Kevin Mulhall

Product Description

BLU-RAY !!! New !!! Neuf !!! Novo !!! Neu !!!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
119 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now is the Richard of our content 7 April 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Those of us who have been maddened by poor prints of this film can rejoice in this nicely restored edition. The picture quality is good (suitably dark Technicolor), the format is slightly wide screen (VistaVision), and the sound is clear.
Shakespeare's Richard 111 may not be historically accurate, but dramatically it is spot on! Olivier fielded a wonderful team of supporting players for this: Cedric Hardwicke, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Claire Bloom and so on. Even the smallest roles were well played.
The film has been a personal favourite for half a century. I think it's wonderful and I'll fight any man who says it isn't.
On the bonus disc is a 1980s television production, lasting three and a half hours, in which a mock trial of Richard was staged - a jury was asked to decide whether he really had been responsible for the murder of two young princes in the tower (an incident in the play/film).
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is this Olivier's Magnum Opus?? 28 Jan 2007
By Mr. R. Mayou VINE VOICE
Finally, it is good to see this film get the special edition DVD treatment it deserves. Top quality for a top film. I first saw this when I was 15 and struggling with Shakspeare alot. Finally I understood due to the performances in this film. This for me is Oliviers Magnum Opus. Even more so than Henry V. The greatest performance from arguably the greatest acting talent this fair isle has ever produced. The set's are a bit crude yes and look very early cinema rather than 1950's but if you've seen Shakespeare on the stage you will know that is par for the course. The point is the acting. Because when a great actor is giving a great performance, as everyone does here not just Olivier, all else is mere cosmetics. Buy it, watch it and be mesmerised by the greatest performance you are ever likely to see. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
This has been on my `To-Get' list for a long long time, but I've never been happy with the offerings to date. That all changed when I picked up this gem - an excellent package and fully deserving the five stars I've awarded it. The bonus `Trial' documentary is invaluable as it's been years since I've seen that aired on TV. It's a definite must-have - so much so, that I bought a second copy for my father! Well-recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Stylistic, quite lavish, fantastically directed and photographed, this is a very charismatic version of the great Shakespeare tragedy that not everyone likes because of its so called politicisation of history. Well, if that is the case, then even that holds some historical value now, as it was done even before the young writer picked up the story. And this very traditional version is the one given by the great Olivier here, having a wail of a time hamming it up as evil Richard Crookback, machiavelian usurper of the English crown. It's wonderful, it's great to look at while being a treat for the ears as well, as one of the great theatrical orators rolls out those perfect decasyllables in that loud declamatory voice of his, while his eyes roll about just as much as his tongue, and his arms occasionally flap up and down. This is one of my two favourite Shakespeare movies, it beats both Olivier's Hamlet and Henry V for me, for being so well contained and narrated. The text of course is second only to Hamlet in the whole of the Shakespeare canon, so what we get is line after line of powerful stuff.
Now is the winter of my discontent
Made glorious summer by this DVD.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rivetting Richard! 25 Jun 2010
I'm amazed that it has taken me so long to see this film. It is, of course, the stuff of all Richard 111 impersonations and while it is difficult to watch Olivier's performance without recalling its many parodies, no one could deny that it is absolutely riveting. "Hammy" it may be at times, perhaps deliberately so, but he is always spellbinding. The supporting players more than hold their own; Gielgud is a lyrical Clarence, Richardson is brilliantly understated as the manipulative Buckingham and Cedric Hardwicke is very fine as the ailing King Edward. The rest of the cast reads like a "Who's Who" of British stage and screen, including the likes of Claire Bloom, Stanley Baker, John Laurie and Patrick Troughton. Two underrated actors, Alec Clunes (father of Martin) and Lawrence Naismith are especially fine as Hastings and Stanley and there are ghoulish cameos from Michaels Gough and Ripper as the two murderers. On a personal note, years ago, I worked with the chap who played one of the princes in the tower. I was quite unprepared for the innovative nature of Olivier's direction, which is quite stunning; this is much more than a simple filming of a stage production. Walton's music is, of course, wonderful and the newly restored print is very effective. At this bargain price, the purchase of this DVD is a "must."
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Richard the Third has always been one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, and Laurence Olivier's magnificent film has always been one of my favourite interpretations.

The film is a thrilling look at the Machiavellian machinations of England's most reviled King. Olivier, in the central role, presents us with an entertaining villain, almost in the pantomime tradition, chewing up any scenery that comes to hand. He remains quite charming however, and you soon get swept along with his evil schemes and at times are almost rooting for him. It's a masterly performance, never descending into absurdity, as so many actors make the mistake of doing.

There are great performances form a host of famous actors, including Gielgud as the tragic Clarence and Ralph Richardson as Richard's co-conspirator Buckingham. Special plaudits go to Clare Bloom as the doomed Anne, who manages to portray both revulsion and pity for Richard as he woos her, in a subtle performance that is not overwhelmed by Olivier's frenzied acting in those scenes.

Olivier also adapted the text and directed the film, both of which he has managed exceptionally well. The text has been very much slimmed down, a few scenes added from Henry VI pt 3, and the order of several scenes rearranged. Purists may be shocked at this treatment of the Bard's sacred texts, but personally I think it makes the narrative flow much better, and allows the play to be seen in isolation from Henry VI, which sets much of the scene for Richard III. The direction is very nicely done, with imaginative use of shadows. Most of the underhanded dealing is shown as shadows on walls, and not explicitly presented on screen.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars jimbo
A film of a super star doing what he does best and making a perfect job of it. Asolutely without doubt the most brilliant film ever made. FANTASTIC
Published 1 month ago by Jim Delderfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch, listen and learn
Superb restoration of this bench mark classic. Larie is in his prime and gives a faultless performance along with everyone else. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Roy Brewster
3.0 out of 5 stars Old times
I bought this because of the fascinating discovery of Richard 3rd's body , because I had enjoyed most of the BBC's production of The White Queen, and I remembered seeing the film... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dr. Margaret C. Underwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Report
It was a very good film and told the story reasonably true and not as Shakespeare and the Tudors said.
Published 6 months ago by John V Hayward
4.0 out of 5 stars Great production and great acting.
It was so good to have put this production onto film where it manages to keep exactly to the text and to take the difficult path between stage play and film. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Tony Kendrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu Ray
For the most part a superb Blu Ray transfer and the fullest version of the film on disc. If you like Olivier's often caricatured performance, get this.
Published 8 months ago by Mr. P. T. Bale
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect copy
Remember those awful video tape copies? Cut off edges, missing parts form the battle of Bosworth. Then this is the DVD for you. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Robin Manning
1.0 out of 5 stars Richard III Criterion Collection Blu-ray Unplayable in UK
Amazon UK is offering the Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition of "Richard III". But it will not play on a Region B/2 (UK) Blu-ray player. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Diotima
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard III dvd
I received a clear DVD copy of the film Richard III to add to my William Shakespeare collection. Laurence Olivier IS Richard III re-incarnated. Brilliant performance throughout
Published 9 months ago by William Farley
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Acting
following the discovery of Richards remains this is a powerful version of the events leading to his downfall. Pity they are not closer to the current version of these matters. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Alan John Wheeler
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