Richard III [DVD] 
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Ian McKellen stars in the title role of this adaptation of Shakespeare's play, based in an alternative, fascist England. After a bloody civil war in 1930s England, between the House of Lancaster and the House of York, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lays his claim to the English throne amid the turmoil. The deformed monarch-apparent uses all of his sinister guile to plot and murder his way to power, each bloody action taking its toll on his family and friends until he has to stand and fight one last battle. The cast also includes Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent, Robert Downey Jr, Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas.
This film adaptation of a critically acclaimed stage production of Shakespeare's historical drama stars Ian McKellen in the title role. The setting is a comic-book vision of 1930s London: part art deco, part Third Reich, part industrial-age rust and rot. The play's force is turned into a synthetic high by art directors and storyboard sketchers, all of whom have a field day condensing the material into disposable pop imagery. Richard III is a fun film, more than anything, so infatuated with its own monstrous stitchery that even the most awkward casting (Annette Bening and Robert Downey Jr) seems a part of the ridiculous design. McKellen is the best thing about the movie, his mesmerising portrayal of freakish despotism and poisoned desire a thing to behold. --Tom Keogh
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Top Customer Reviews
Because this is great Shakespeare on film - it's on the same level as Brannagh's Henry V, Feinnes' Coriolanus, Olivier's Hamlet - it should not only be on the shelves of HMV, it should be on school curricula. If anyone knows of any way to bring pressure to bear on the right person to get this situation changed, please do let me know. United Artists don't even pretend to be open to dialogue.
To refer to the cast as 'stellar' is almost to devalue the word - not just Ian McKellen (Maybe the film's being witheld because it would be wrong to let stupid people see the actor that went on to play Gandalf here playing a villain) - Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, Tim McInerny, Jim Carter, Bill Patterson, Adrian Dunbar, Michael Elphick - and Annette Bening and Robert Downey jnr - but look at the roll call on IMDB; the only adult speaking part not to be played by a star is 'Subaltern' played by David Antrobus.
Admittedly the script is pared down to the basics, but at least most of the words are Shakespeare, though the addition of 'Prime Minister' will annoy some purists, as will the interpolation of a line from Henry VI 3, but it is worth bearing in mind that Richard III is a very long play and if you want to find out how long just take a look at The BBC production starring Ron Cook, because that's the uncut text.Read more ›
Then, mid-sentence, the image cuts again.Read more ›
BUT!!!!! this is a German DVD and it does play in English, only at the expense of having German subtitles which can't be switched off. I find this very distracting. Currently, there doesn't seem to be any other recording available, so I have to put up with it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A brilliant interpretation, fantastic cast and look. What's not to like?Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is one of the best Shakespearean films ever made. Its sheer originality makes it fabulously entertaining. But what's this ? You can't watch it without GERMAN subtitles ?? Read morePublished 7 months ago by S. Ramsey-Hardy
I am usually a traditionalist when it comes to Classics but this production is wonderful. I had it on an old video, so am very pleased to have found it on DVD.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Brilliant version of Shakespeare's play, set in the 1930's and using key locations in London. Really good. Makes the story very easy to follow.Published 9 months ago by susan hector
the costumes are fantastic, and the setting is innovative, a thoroughly good watch, and a refreshing change from the usual stylePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Good production but the problem was that it was in German!?! I should have checked this when I ordered it!Published 11 months ago by wrightman