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on 23 May 2011
A great cast. A truly great play.Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent, Nigel Hawthorne, Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith and Robert Downey Jr.I agree that there ought to be another release of this fine production as it was produced in English after all.As that doesn't exist at present this is the one to watch!
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on 18 March 2014
My initial review of this film was a touch mis-informed; you *can* get English language versions of this sans-subtitles on DVD but they aren't plentiful or cheap, and the film isn't in the shops. I've no idea why.

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.

And there's not a doublet nor a pair of hose in sight - it's set in the 1930s, in a fantasy England with a King Edward, where Royal Palace looks just like St Pancras Station but is on the south shore of the Thames, Battersea Power Station may be glimpsed, through binoculars, from the south coast, and the Tower of London is Bankside Power Station. On top of the rest of the lovely things to look at, there is some satisfaction to be gained from spotting London locations. The interior of Richard's new Art Deco HQ is a couple of miles from its outside, for instance.

The film started out as an exercise in preserving Mr McKellen's National Theatre production, and it is clearly something of a labour of love, with the star laden cast turning out for far less than they might have expected; one of the recurring themes in McKellan's wonderful accompanying book (the annotated screenplay) is just how generous the company were in terms of commitment to getting the film made. One of my favourite stories is that of the only set used in the film - the field headquarters that opens the movie - was one rescued from the BBC furnaces, and then destroyed on film in this; it makes for a fantastic first scene - the Battle of Tewkesbury reduced to a tank coming through the wall and six commandoes - one of whom, of course, is Richard. The rest is all filmed on location.
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on 11 April 2017
Have still not watched the whole of this but so far the DVD works fine.
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on 19 March 2017
owned german dvd already,never thought i would be able to buy yhe blue ray version,perfect!
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on 20 March 2017
Brilliantly conceived. Great performance.
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on 30 May 2017
This is an ingenious modernisation of Shakespeare's play. However the translation to echos of a fascist dictator fails to be sustained for the length of the film. Worth comparison against Olivier's version but on the whole Olivier comes off best in conveying the villainy in my opinion.
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on 26 January 2016
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 ?? This is crazy ! We're talking about William Shakespeare here !

For heaven's sake will the people who own the rights to this brilliant movie pull their socks up, and get it released properly for the English-speaking public. It's a visual feast for eyes, so in blu-ray please ! As soon as possible.

Thankyou !
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on 19 June 2017
I watched it with my other half. The end of the film is still a long way from my perfect ending. The actor's performance was animated and devoted. The plot is very subtle. I really like the props in this movie. It's quite realistic. Very pretty.
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on 29 October 2010
This is, of course, one of the most innovative interpretations of Richard III and I can't add anything to the other reviews about the performance.

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.
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on 7 December 2007
This is probably about ten percent of the original dialogue, and therefore it rolls along at a terrific pace. Having Richard arrive in a tank through a wall, must be the most dynamic entrance of any character in a Shakespeare play. You can suddenly see the origins of the pantomime Wicked Uncle figure in this piece as well, when he croons over the departing Little Princes 'So wise so young they say do never live long, come-let's to supper.' Fabulous! Don't miss it.
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