Directed by: John Sichel
Countries & Regions: United Kingdom
Length: 100 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 4 May 2009
Cat No: 7953032
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Twelfth Night (Sichel, 1969)
A star-studded cast comes together to perform Shakespeare’s famous comedy of misunderstandings. Handsome Duke Orsino (Gary Raymond)’s... Read More
BBC Shakespeare adaptations sometimes have unfair reputations as worthy adaptations that are handy study aids but which fail as pure entertainment. Drivel. The acting talent of an imaginatively selected cast in this version of Twelfth Night breathes new life into the piece, and more than compensates for its slight staginess.
One of Shakespeare’s most eccentric plays, with lurches in tone and intriguing plot twists, this combines the Bard’s plot of twins, cross-dressing, misunderstanding and romance with its amazing all-star cast to create a superior adaptation.
Joan Plowright, looking much younger than her 40 years, is a delightful Viola, while Adrienne Corri is an appropriately haughty Olivia. However, it’s the two Sirs who steal the show. Too often Malvolio is played for sympathy rather than laughs, but here Alec Guinness wisely interprets the character as a pompous buffoon, while Ralph Richardson has a high old time as the bawdy, drunken Sir Toby Belch. All this and Tommy Steele (as Feste) playing the lute too!