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The Tempest [DVD] (1979)


Price: £13.43 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Heathcote Williams, Karl Johnson, Toyah Willcox, Peter Bull, Richard Warwick
  • Directors: Derek Jarman
  • Writers: Derek Jarman, William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Don Boyd, Guy Ford, Mordecai Shreiber, Sarah Radclyffe
  • Format: PAL, Mono, Full Screen, Colour
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Second Sight
  • DVD Release Date: 16 Feb. 2004
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00014W9WC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,705 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Derek Jarman's interpretation of Shakespeare's final play is a tale of colonialism, revenge, retribution and reconciliation. Prospero, the former Duke of Milan, and his daughter Miranda were abandoned on a remote island by the Duke's evil brother Antonio. Twelve years later, Prospero has learnt the 'liberal arts', and engineers a tempest to shipwreck Antonio's ship on the mysterious island. He plans for Antonio's travelling companion, Ferdinand the Prince of Naples, to marry his daughter and restore peace between Milan and Naples.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Cowie on 14 Feb. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I originally saw this film at the cinema in 1979 and I found it dark, scary and disturbing. it still is, but now I know the play I can understand why. Jarman's Tempest is the story of Miranda's growth from girlhood to woman; Prospero has retreated to a world of ideas but it is cold and loveless, he condemns Caliban as a monster but all Jarman's Caliban is guilty of is possessing carnal appetites, the same appetites which Miranda is starting to discover for herself. This is no island paradise but a prison which is brought to life by the arrival of the shipwreck survivors and which they, and the audience, are glad to escape from.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D Burin on 25 Mar. 2012
Format: DVD
Bold, highly unconventional, and partially successful, 'The Tempest' may use Shakespeare's text as its backbone, but this work very much has the stamp of Jarman on it. Jarman's 'The Tempest' is, unsurprisingly, not a film which will please those who enjoy their Shakespearean adaptations conventional and traditional. Its visuals are murkily dark, with sections shot entirely in a disconcerting bluescreen, Toyah Wilcox is excellent as Miranda; but her flirtatious Miranda is changed from the meeker Miranda of the original text. To Jarman's credit, he brings a number of important contemporary themes to the fore in the film. Caliban's campness and apparent homosexuality are an unspoken symbol of his treatment as 'lesser' and 'other' by the more conservative Prospero. Jarman also deals with the mocking of supposed 'deformity', through the mocking of Caliban by the drunkard Stephano, and Stephano's friend Trinculo. Most of the film's performances are excellent; helping these evocations of serious issues to be made. Wilcox achieves the perfect blend of independence and traditional 'femininity' in her revising of the character of Miranda, and Heathcote Williams and Jarman regular Jack Birkett bring originality and depth to their portrayals of Prospero and Caliban, respectively.

Jarman's film has, however, a number of flaws and frustrations. The Film's cinematography is often an irritation. In the bluescreen scenes, it is hard to distinguish between characters. Elsewhere, the lighting is unnecessarily dark.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By allwillbewell on 27 Dec. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Forget the negative comments. The Tempest is unclassifiable - awkward, patchy, illogical, genuinely haunting and unpredictible. Jarman understood totally the un-cute, spiky nature of the magic and Heathcote Williams and Toyah Wilcox capture it perfectly. Uncomfortable, charming, witty, discomforting, beautiful and disturbing by turns, this is The Tempest that Shakespeare would have directed himself if he had lived 400 years longer.
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68 of 75 people found the following review helpful By S. BENNETT on 23 Dec. 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Finally a UK DVD release for this brilliant adaptation of The Tempest.
Fans of Jarman will recognise a few faces from his 'Jubilee' a few years before, in particular Toyah Willcox, who at the time was just starting out in the rock world, puts in an enviable performance as Prospero's daughter Miranda and this aside from her more recent theatre work is her best performance - notably winning her a best newcomer nomination at the time.
It was brave of Jarman to have seen a potential Miranda from the orange haired punk pyromaniac of Jubilee and thank goodness he did. Heathcote Williams is a convincing prospero holding order over his monstrous servant Caliban (Orlando) who fancies the island for himself, only to end up looking rather drunken and foolish with Christopher Biggins (well who wouldn't!).
If you are expecting a traditional Shakespearian luvvy type film you may be dissapointed. Jarmans's film really does capture the 'sounds and sweet airs' of the island, with the eeriness dramatically contrasted by some brilliant moments such as Elisabeth Welch's amazing finale of 'Stormy Weather' possibly the beautifully campest thing ever seen in Shakespeare.
Let's hope this sparks more of the very much missed Jarman on DVD, and also that it reminds people that Toyah is much more than just 'that woman who sang It's A Mystery'. A beautiful film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jacques COULARDEAU on 4 July 2014
Format: DVD
No one can say they don't know Shakespeare's most mysterious play, The Tempest. But no one can say they understand it because it is not done to be understood but only interpreted and that's exactly what Derek Jarman does with it.

And his interpretation is that a labyrinth if not a maze in which we are supposed to get lost. We sure have an island and two people, father and daughter, Prospero and Miranda, marooned on it. We then have a tempest that brings to the island the brother, Antonio, of this father who unseated him as Duke of Milan with the help of Alonso, the father of Ferdinand, all marooned on the island by the tempest. In fact Alonso was the plotter who managed to get Prospero off the throne of Milan and got him and his daughter marooned. That is called a coup d'état or a putsch.

The object of the tempest is thus simple: to bring Ferdinand and Miranda together to get them married, Prospero's vengeance in a way on Alonso.

But it is not a play about a vengeance and Derek Jarman puts a lot of other elements forward to amplify other levels of meaning. Everyone is waiting for Caliban, the perverted and twisted "slave" who is an inept son of a witch. He is obnoxious as expected. Everyone is waiting for Ariel, the spirit that is used by Prospero to make the tempest happen and he is what we expect, a magical master of ceremonies. He brings Ferdinand and Miranda together. He more or less loses all the others on the island for Prospero to have enough time for his plan. And then he brings them to the castle in due time to be obliged to endorse the wedding.

But that still is not the meaning Derek Jarman wants us to see.
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