Film Series : Shakespeare on Film

King Lear

1971, Peter Brook, UK/Denmark, 137 min. With Paul Scofield, Irene Worth.

Show Times

  • Sat, Dec 17th 3:00pm
  • Thu, Dec 22nd 6:00pm

"This is a King Lear of splendor and shock ... Brook at his manic best. It triumphantly ignores both romantic and naturalistic traditions to achieve something akin to the so-called new theater in film terms." — Vincent Canby, The New York Times

In 2004, actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company were asked to vote on the greatest Shakespeare performance of all time. The winner was Paul Scofield’s Lear — a performance which many of the voters knew primarily through Peter Brook’s 1971 film version. His 1962 stage production with Scofield had been both panned and praised (critic Kenneth Tynan called it “revolutionary") for stripping away what Brook saw as nineteenth-century sentimentality in favor of a more relevant Samuel Beckett-like nihilism. Brook’s film retains the core of the legendary stage production while boldly reconceiving it in cinematic terms, using relentless close-ups and replacing the abstract stage setting with the winter-swept flatlands of Denmark. 35mm. (MR)

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