Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Laurence Olivier Presents|
Actors: Laurence Olivier, Joanne Woodward, Carrie Fisher, Nicholas Campbell, Patience Collier
Directors: Laurence Olivier, Alan Bridges, June Howson, Michael Apted, Robert Knights
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
The greatest actor of the 20th century presents five works by great 20th-century playwrights. Stars include Olivier, Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, Maureen Stapleton, Alan Bates, Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, Joanne Woodwa... more »
Excellent acting, HORRIBLE production and sound
a foodie | South Carolina | 11/04/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this for the version of 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' included in it. Olivier is excellent as Big Daddy, and Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner are very good as well.
The photography and sets on these plays are reminiscent of a mid-seventies soap opera; fairly cheesy sets, glarey lighting. That would be tolerable, but the sound is recorded so muddily that it's really hard to understand the actors-so much so that I haven't been able to finish some of the plays.
I can't believe that the DVD producers couldn't have spruced up the sound. If they can reissue CDs of Caruso and McCormack with listenable sound, surely they could have restored this soundtrack to some degree of clarity.
What makes it even worse is that they don't include subtitles on the DVD. Hey, producers, a play is all about the WORDS, ya know? They're important, and if they aren't accessible through the soundtrack you might consider subtitles.
Given that you can't understand half of what's said, I see no reason for anyone to ever buy this item. It's sad, because there seems to be some pretty good acting in these plays."
Natalie Wood At Her Finest...Finally On DVD "CAT ON A HOT TI
Kenneth Benjamin | Spring Creek, NC United States | 11/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have waited for 30 years to see "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" from 1976 which I saw one night on TV back when it first aired in 76 and at 19 years old I was already a Natalie Wood fan for quite some time and I was in Awe that night!I never seen that TV Play again since nor could I find it on VHS or DVD...I wrote the movie company and Ted Turner's cable station and after a half dozen letters I finally heard that this DVD set had just come out.I was so happy to finally get this DVD set in the mail from Amazon and to see Natalie Wood at her finest and most beautiful.Both Natalie and Her Husband Robert Wagner head this fine cast with Olivier and Marureen Stapleton to boot!But I must say all eyes are on Natalie when she comes in the room and you see her for the first time as soon as the film rolls.With her finest Southern accent since This Property Is Condemed back 10 years eailer she look a bit older but like fine wine she aged for the better.If you liked her in This Property then you will love her in Cat.and you will surly be very happy with this DVD.The Color and quality could not be better,infact I have not seen a DVD this clear and all the other stories on this set is a added bounus for me and I truley enjoyed them all.GET THIS!!! You will not be sorry...."
Uneven collection but with great standouts
Uncle Waldemar | Norway | 01/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This collection features the five episodes of the late '70s British TV series "Best Play of the Year", all five plays directed by and starring Laurence Olivier. As a bonus is an adaptation of a John Fowles novella, "The Ebony Tower", also featuring Olivier.
The productions suffer from some of the innate problems of filmed plays, as well as the limitations of video technology of the time and a few instances of miscasting. However, they serve as good documentations of these plays, and a couple of them make for interesting comparisons with the more well-known Hollywood adaptations. "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", for instance, is far more faithful to the original play than the film version is. Natalie Wood does a memorable job as Maggie. On the other hand, Olivier is not wholly convincing as Big Daddy, partly because of his accent. Whereas Burl Ives' performance in the movie (he had performed the part on stage) is pretty definitive.
The plum here is the version of Harold Pinter's "The Collection". This "chamber play" is in any case more suited to television than the other plays, and Pinter as usual wrote the screen adaptation himself, making the "opening up" of the play wholly in tune with the original. It's archetypal Pinter, full of spoken and unspoken menace, conjuring a fascinating world of betrayal, deceit, denial and self-denial, asking more questions than it answers and thus inviting the viewer to fill in the blanks. And the cast is magnificent: Olivier, Alan Bates, Malcolm McDowell and Helen Mirren.
For anyone interested in Pinter, I would also recommend the movie version of "The Caretaker" especially, again with great performances by Bates, Donald Pleasence and Robert Shaw; and (to a slightly lesser degree) "The Birthday Party" with Shaw and "The Homecoming" with Ian Holm."
INCREDIBLE Acting, cheesy 70's production is worth enduring
S. Fraser | WA, USA | 07/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've watched three of these plays so far, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", "Hindle Wakes", and "Come Back Little Sheba". They've all exceeded expectations, the acting is amazing. You need to overlook the production in terms of lighting and such, that's obvious given the era and the fact these were made for television. But it's adequate enough, and keeps you focused on the acting, which I've been particularly impressed by. Olivier, Maureen Stapleton, Joanne Woodward, Natalie Wood - all amazing. The general cast in Hindle Wakes did an excellent, fine job. A surprising and very progressive play for 1912.
My favorite so far: "Come Back Little Sheba", which blew my mind, it was searing. WOW. I felt like I was watching a tornado slowly form, in excruciating detail; I was an entranced and queasy witness to this family story. This play really winds itself into a force of nature, gathering horribly to a explosive, insane peak. It seemed so real, I believed it. The acting by Woodward and Olivier was utterly convincing, and PAINFUL to watch. It caught me off guard. Kudos also belongs to the playwright, it's a masterpiece.
In "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", Natalie Wood and Maureen Stapleton were fantastic, and I found Olivier's performance virtually flawless. I found his accents to be beyond reproach. Amazingly, I didn't even realize it was him at first, that's how good his acting is.
I could easily dock this DVD one star if the acting weren't so superb. However, I cannot bring myself to take the fifth star off my rating."