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Laurence Olivier Shakespeare Collection [DVD]

4.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

Price: £17.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Laurence Olivier Shakespeare Collection [DVD]
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  • Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1996]
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Product details

  • Actors: Ralph Richardson, Claire Bloom, Henry Ainley, Joan Plowright, Jeremy Brett
  • Directors: Laurence Olivier, John Sichel, Paul Czinner, Reginald Beck, Michael Elliott
  • Producers: Filippo Del Giudice, Paul Czinner, Laurence Olivier
  • Format: PAL
  • 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: 7
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: ITV Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 30 July 2007
  • Run Time: 823 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000QJMSBE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,303 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Box set featuring six Shakespeare adaptations starring legendary actor Laurence Olivier. In 'King Lear' (1983), the ageing King Lear (Olivier) decides to split his kingdom between three daughters - Regan, Cordelia and Goneril - with each receiving a share appropriate to the amount of love they feel for him. However, when the faithful Cordelia refuses to protest her devotion, an enraged Lear foolishly cedes complete control to the devious remaining siblings - with terrible results. In 'Henry V' (1944), the young king (Olivier) puts his rakish past behind him and rallies his men to invade France, winning against the enemy's superior numbers. The film was shot in Ireland to avoid the constant bombardment of the Blitz and Olivier was discharged from the Navy to make the film. In 'Hamlet' (1948), Hamlet (Olivier), Prince of Denmark, is still mourning over the death of his father and his mother Gertrude's (Eileen Herlie) subsequent remarriage to Hamlet's despised uncle, Claudius (Basil Sydney), who is now King. When his father's ghost appears to Hamlet and reveals that it was Claudius who murdered him, the young prince vows revenge. However, a fatal flaw in his character - hesitation - mars his efforts, resulting in murder, madness and treachery. In 'The Merchant of Venice' (1974), Jewish moneylender Shylock (Olivier) provides young Antonio (Anthony Nichols) with a loan, stating that if it is not repaid he will claim a pound of flesh. When Antonio's bond defaults, Shylock attempts to claim his grisly compensation in a court of law, but Portia (Joan Plowright) pleads Antonio's case. In 'Richard III' (1955), Olivier stars as the cold and calculating king, a treacherous and untrustworthy fellow who makes plans to kill anyone who threatens his position. Henry Stafford (Ralph Richardson), the Duke of Clarence (John Gielgud) and Lady Anne Neville (Claire Bloom) are just some of those moving in his orbit. 'As You Like It' (1936) was filmed in England in 1936 when Olivier was still considered a promising young actor rather than one of the finest thespians ever, as he would later become, this is his first filmed Shakespeare performance and thus a milestone in film history.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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It is easy now to forget that Laurence Olivier was the first to film some of Shakespeare's greatest plays to compete with lighter entertainment at the box office. His Henry V, filmed with a much smaller cast and budget during the War as a morale-booster to the beleaguered British, is a brilliant production that still holds the interest. His Hamlet on film was controversial at the time for its Freudian interpretation and I hate the excessive cuts. Richard III and Othello (a film of his National Theatre production) set the standard for years afterward. Also included are The Merchant of Venice and King Lear from late in Olivier's career.

Olivier was a thrilling actor on the stage and much of his magic is captured these screen performances. I still miss him.
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Sir Laurence Olivier has long been considered the most accomplished Shakespearian actor ever to have taken to the stage, and this marvellous boxset provides all the evidence of that you'll ever need. His strength was that he understood the material so well, I can't think of any other actor of the age who showed such proficiency.

This set contains all of the notable plays, from the film created to restore sinking morales in the depths of World War II, Henry V, to his magnificent performance of King Lear, one of his final acting roles. The full list of the films in this set is as follows:

Henry V
Hamlet
King Lear
Merchant of Venice
Richard III
As You Like It

If you want to see Shakespeare, this is surely the best way short of going to the theatre yourself. This collection really does show why Olivier really is held in such high esteem.

The boxset consists of 7 discs, with one for each of the films as well as a bonus disc with an insightful interview with Michael Parkinson.
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An excellent collection of interpretations of Shakespeare by Laurence Olivier which stay faithful to the written text.

Worth buying if only for Olivier's performances as Hamlet and King Lear, the latter of which is one of the most outstanding pieces of acting ever caught on film.

I cannot recommend this collection highly enough. Especially at this price.
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This is probably the cheapest way to get a good selection of Shakespeare roles performed by Laurence Olivier, the definitive Shakespearean actor. The only film I wish was included in this collection was his version of Othello. I have not seen it and it is rather pricey to buy on it's own.

Henry V
Hamlet
King Lear
Merchant of Venice
Richard III
As You Like It

As well as all the plays listed, it comes with an interview disc of Laurence Olivier being interviewed by Michael Parkinson. You love Shakespeare, you love Laurence Olivier? What are you waiting for? Buy it! Only quibble is because of the design of the packaging one of the discs keeps falling out.
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If you want to see Shakespeare played at its dramatic best,then this is for you.Olivier really is the Master.His Richard the third is the best ever.He based his character on a cartoon villain.His acting is supreme.A must.
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By Lyns on 11 April 2013
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this is one for the traditional... beautifully executed. I am enjoying the BBC Shakepseare Collection(dvd set).. and I have the new versions of some of Shakey's plays.. Hamlet in particular, done by Richard Branagh and another version played by David Tennant... but these are steeped in tradition and a joy to watch.. v atmospheric. Im pleased I purchased this set.
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This was a present for my dad, but I have watched the plays too, and we both enjoyed them. His favourite was The Merchant of Venice.
I liked Henry V best because of the "look" of it: The action shifts from a performance in a theatre into a landscape which looks like a medieval painting with all the same errors in scale and perspective.... and beautiful colours.
By contrast, Hamlet was set in a bleak monochrome castle. Laurence Olivier was particularly good in this one.
Overall, this is a good introduction to Shakespeare.
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Purchased for my husband who is a fan both of Shakespeare and Laurence Olivier. I like Shakespeare but not Olivier, so he watches them on his own. He rates them highly, though, so I have to recommend them.
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