Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Journey of the Fifth Horse |
Broadway Theatre Archive
Actors: Susan Anspach, Michael Tolan, Charlotte Rae, Dustin Hoffman
Directors: Larry Arrick, Earl Dawson
Genres: Drama, Television, Musicals & Performing Arts
The trailblazing genius that is Dustin Hoffman is hugely apparent in this, his first starring role on television. Originally produced Off-Broadway, Dustin Hoffman recreates his Obie Award-winning portrayal of Zoditch, a lo... more »
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"Lust is the devil's monastery on the road to hell."
Mary Whipple | New England | 01/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Winner of an Obie Award in 1966 for his role as Zoditch in this play by Ronald Ribman, Dustin Hoffman reprises his role here in his first television appearance, an adaptation for NET Playhouse, directed by Larry Arrick. Hoffman is the neurasthenic "first reader" of a small publishing house in Petersburg, Russia, at the turn of the century. Speaking with a high-pitched, nasal whine and with posture resembling a crane--shoulders stooped, head forward, stomach protruding--Zoditch/Hoffman is "an interruption in everyone's conversation," a man who has no friends, no ability to relax, no lady-love, and no promise for the future.
When a housekeeper (fussily played by Charlotte Rae) brings him the diary of Nicolai Chulkaturin, which was left to her when he died, Zoditch at first rejects it but is ordered to read it at home. Chulkaturin (wonderfully played by Michael Tolan), a young man who has just died of tuberculosis, emerges from the pages of the diary and soon reveals that he, too, believes himself to be the equivalent of a "fifth horse," a superfluous addition to the coach of life. When, unexpectedly, Chulkaturin meets a young woman with whom he falls in love (Susan Anspach), his life changes, until a captain in the army sweeps her off her feet.
As the action moves back and forth between the lives of Zoditch and Chulkaturin, the reader observes innumerable parallels between them. In many ways Chulkaturin is what Zoditch wishes he could be--tall, handsome, and in love. Since Anspach and several minor characters plays dual roles both in Chulkaturin's story and in Zoditch's life, the idea of Chulkaturin as Zoditch's alterego expands.
Adapted from a story by Ivan Turgenev, the play offers a bleak reality and, in its conclusion, dark humor, which puts Zoditch's yearnings and false hopes into perspective. Though Hoffman won the Obie, Michael Tolan's acting is equally good--more subtle and less one-dimensional. Susan Anspach is both ingenuous and sexy in her two roles, and Catherine Goffigan as Zoditch's landlady is a scene stealer and wonderful foil for Zoditch. Beautifully produced and movingly acted, the play brings to life turn of the century Russian values and an ineffective little man who feels like the "fifth horse." Mary Whipple
Newlpost | NJ | 07/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like action car chase scenes and special effects - go away.
How about really good theater with Hamlet-like soliloquy in black & white? Quirky as all hell, but you will find yourself pointing into the empty air and asserting 'assets! . . . assets!'
I looked for a revival of this play for YEARS! There it was on DVD! Assets! The original play as was on public television way back then. Captures the old Russian psyche as well as anything. The faces will be startlingly familiar."