Peter Brook directs his own adaptation of Shakespeare's classic tragedy. King Lear (Paul Scofield), having decided to split his kingdom between his three daughters, decides to apportion the lands according to which daughter declaims her love for him best. When his daughter Cordelia refuses to flatter her father's ego with claims of devotion, Lear angrily gives the lion's share of his power to her sisters, Goneril and Regan. They soon abuse this trust, and Lear finds himself emasculated and powerless. Before long he is drifting into madness, as his former empire falls apart.
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Mono ), Italian ( Mono ), English ( Subtitles ), Greek ( Subtitles ), Hungarian ( Subtitles ), Italian ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, SYNOPSIS: British director Peter Brook was of the opinion that no one in the latter half of the 20th century would sit still for a Shakespearean presentation without the added fillips of bizarre costumes and tricky camera pyrotechnics. Fortunately, Brook keeps his excesses in check in his 1971 version of King Lear. With equal good fortune, his Lear is Paul Scofield, whose portrayal of the senile old ruler, whose susceptibility to flattery proves his undoing, is nothing short of brilliant. The stark terrain of Denmark stands in for England in this version, adding a brooding texture to the tragedy that threatens to overwhelm the dialogue at times. Lear's daughters are played by Irene Worth (Goneril), Susan Engel (Regan), and Anne-lise Gabold (Cordelia); others in the cast are Alan Webb (Gloucester), Cyril Cusack (Albany), Patrick Magee (Cornwall), and Jack MacGowran (the Fool). Younger viewers and those faint at heart be warned: King Lear is one of Shakespeare's most graphically violent works, and director Brook takes every opportunity to emphasize the carnage and gore. ...King Lear