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The Merchant of Venice [DVD]


Price: £9.03 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
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£9.03 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Actors: Laurence Olivier, Jeremy Brett, Joan Plowright, Michael Jayston, Anna Carteret
  • Directors: John Sichel
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: 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: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 19 Sept. 2011
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004W2OYN6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,978 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

In this lavish stage production, Oscar winner Laurence Olivier takes on one of literary history s most enigmatic and challenging characters: the vengeful moneylender of Venice, Shylock. Adapted from Jonathan Miller s brilliant London stage production, this updated interpretation of Shakespeare s masterpiece shifts the setting from Elizabethan times to the late 19th Century - allowing for a new relevance for contemporary audiences, and a deeper understanding of the central character. Joan Plowright, Jeremy Brett, Michael Jayston, Anthony Nicholls and Denis Lawson also feature among the cast of the production, which is adapted and directed by acclaimed screenwriter, director and theatre trainer John Sichel.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nipper on 4 Mar. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I liked this version enormously. For the first time (except for the recent Henry Goodman version) in a long time a completely sympathetic view of Shylock. Olivier, who can be a bit OTT sometimes, was perfect in this part, and at the end his breakdown is completely convincing. Another thing I always have difficulty is the Portia as a man sequence, but Joan Plowright does this very well, again almost convincing. The anti-semantics (is that right?) are still there of course, but counteracted by the sympathy of other characters. All in all a good version.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hal Marshall TOP 100 REVIEWER on 25 Feb. 2013
Format: DVD
I managed to pick this up at the checkout of the local garden centre of all places. Strange reasoning behind that one - 'Let's see, I need three bags of compost, half a dozen fence panels... oh, and I think I'll also buy 'The Merchant of Venice'. Mind you, it obviously works. Once I saw the name 'Jeremy Brett' amongst the cast, this DVD's fate was well and truly sealed. The play was recorded in 1973, wonderfully immortalising the National Theatre's production. It was set in the early 1900s, an idea which definitely adds interest to the action.

My knowledge of Shakespeare and his works is not brilliant, therefore my appreciation of them is not particularly impressive. However, it is hard not to feel privileged at being able to witness such a powerful collection of performances from some of the very finest British stage actors. Olivier himself brings enormous depth to the character of Shylock. The range of his voice alone is impressive enough. Because the dramatisation is effectively a theatrical performance, you get the feeling of intimacy that really makes this something special.

As for Jeremy Brett, it takes an actor of some considerable talent and charisma to be able to distract you from Olivier at his best. Mr Brett manages to do that quite effortlessly. So much is unsaid, it is all about the gestures and expressions. Very much the way he worked when bringing Sherlock Holmes to life so vividly. He was of course one of Olivier's company at the National Theatre at the beginning of his career and was very much influenced by the elder man. With that in mind, it is amazing to be able to see them working so closely together in this.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By hi fi mon amour on 21 Sept. 2008
Format: VHS Tape
With an excellent cast, and my favourite quote in all shakespeare..'the fool multitude who judge by show...' delivered by a superb actor and totally cut out of the pacino version, an unforgivable error, and a pasty vague version with very little memorable characters or scenes to boot, this version just flies above it in all regards, and worth buying a video recorder for alone.How dare pacino dumb down this masterpiece!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hannam on 28 Mar. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Contrary to everyone else, I thought this was the poorest version of any Shakespeare play I have ever seen. The setting in the 19th century does not work and detracts greatly from the play. Surprisingly, I thought Olivier was dreadful and so obviously acting. The part where he breaks the picture is awful.Totally over the top. Plowright was too old for this part and also comes across as trivial. Gratiano comes across as sneaky rather than cheeky. Antonio seems not to know what he is doing in business matters. The whole thing is a shambles and is further let down by poor sound recording.
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By Avery Gordon on 30 Mar. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Anyone who says, "Oh Olivier wasn't that good an actor," has never seen his Shylock. I am thrilled that this historic performance is now available on DVD. It's been unavailable for far too long. If you never see any performance of Olivier's but this one, you will realize the extent to which he gave himself over to a character. It's excellent, as is his Othello. And the rest of the cast is terrific as well. The pathos which one finds in Olivier's Shylock is important: It illuminates Portia's famous speech about "The quality of mercy," in that it makes the viewer realize that in Shakespeare's time Jews were terribly persecuted. But one will also realize what empathy one feels for the Old Jew. It is a masterpiece.
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By Kangarian on 25 Feb. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A wonderful opportunity to see the performance of actors who added something to this wonderful play. It is important to be able to see someone of the calibre of Olivier.
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