PROSPERO’S BOOKS
1991, Park Circus/Miramax, 124 min, UK/Netherlands/France, Dir: Peter Greenaway

This highly imaginative retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest stars John Gielgud, here realizing a lifelong ambition to portray Prospero on screen. A magician in exile, he is eager to exact revenge against his enemies until his daughter (Isabelle Pasco) falls in love with his chief rival’s son (Mark Rylance). With its remarkably innovative use of choreography (to a Michael Nyman score), animation and digitally manipulated imagery, Greenaway’s riff on the classic play is among his most dazzlingly visual films.


KISS ME KATE
1953, Warner Bros., 109 min, USA, Dir: George Sidney

This adaptation of the Broadway hit is often cited as one of the best 3-D films of the 1950s. As divorced actors reuniting for a musical production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel get to sing some "wunderbar" Cole Porter songs, along with the great Ann Miller (“Too Darn Hot”). As you’d expect of a Golden Age MGM musical, the dancing is as marvelous as the Oscar-nominated score, with choreography by Hermes Pan (and ace hoofer/future director Bob Fosse in the role of Hortensio).


OTHELLO
1952, Carlotta Films, 92 min, Dir: Orson Welles

Until its 1992 restoration, Orson Welles’ wildly imaginative Shakespearean adaptation was often overlooked, and nearly impossible to see in a decent print. Despite its initial budgetary problems, which caused the shooting schedule to stretch out over three years (it was started in 1949), it stands as one of Welles’ greatest visual poems. An astonishing achievement against nearly overwhelming odds. Starring Welles, Micheál Mac Liammóir, Suzanne Cloutier.


Syndicate content