Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Plays of William Shakespeare - King Lear|
Actors: Mike Kellen, Darryl Hickman, Charles Aidman, David Groh, Kitty Winn
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
The clearest and most understandable Shakespeare productions ever made. Staged as seen in the 16th Century, featuring award-winning performers. The renowned story of familiar deceit and murder. Starring Mike Kellen, Darryl... more »
Weak In Every Area Of Production
Cecil Sutton | Ojai, CA USA | 02/16/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Having viewed eight different productions of KING LEAR in this past month, I must say this version is the worst! Unfortunatelly, this version is quite often promoted as a production that English or Shakespeare students can easily understand (apparently because the actors perform the roles without an English accent). To quote from the back cover: "Unfamiliar English accents, so prevalent in most Shakespearean productions, are absent from this series. English and drama teachers, as well as the typical playgoer, will find this feature of tremendous value." In my opinion, english and drama students, as well as the typical playgoer will be completely bored with this feature! The major falt must be placed on the actors who seem to simply walk through thier roles without any passion whatever. The director must also take most of the blame for not getting better performances from his actors. In short, this production looks like a "made for television" item that lacks great acting or direction. Mediocre all around! I feel sorry for the student who has to sit through this! For those others who can...avoid it!!!"
Wow! Mike Kellin as Lear!
Lawrence Rapchak | Whiting, IN United States | 08/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In reacting to the other review posted for this DVD version of "King Lear", I must take considerable exception.
Apparently, the goal of the production was to convey the tone and style of a VINTAGE, authentic performance of Lear, and in that regard, I feel that it is very valuable and, in its own way, fascinating.
It is a simple production, shot with 2 or 3 cameras in fairly straightforward fashion. Nevertheless, it moves well and the various camera angles and the director's use of the limited space makes for a very interesting and involving experience--although one that it is admittedly rather low-key, even, dare I say, SUBTLE.
This is the all the more surprising, considering the actor who portrays LEAR---and this was my sole reason for purchasing the DVD. I have never seen a performance on film by Mike Kellin that was not in some way RIVETING. He was a most distinctive actor, usually cast as heavies in Westerns, military officers, criminal thugs, etc.
His onscreen persona was really something--a glowering, brutish intensity coupled with an almost tortured and pitiful vulnerability. Who could forget his performance as Brad Davis' angst-ridden father in "Midnight Express"?
Mr. Kellin's (and his name is constantly mispelled on the DVD as
"KellEn"), portrayals often walked the edge of nervous, almost neurotic intensity and pathos. Yes, he could chew the scenery with the best of them, but was also capable of a remarkable, touching subtlety.
And it's the subtlety and sensitivity of his LEAR that makes this performance so commanding. It was taped in December of 1982, so Kellin had only 8 months to live, before succumbing to lung cancer at age 61. What a summation of a life's work as an actor! And don't you feel, from my description of Kellin's persona, that he would indeed make a fascinating and compelling Lear?
And, whereas the other reviewer blasts the cast, I must point out that the actor who portrays the doomed Duke of Gloucester, Charles Aidman, was one of early TV's finest stage-trained performers. He was (and in the present case IS) first-rate!
Again, intense, subtle and commanding as an actor, and masterful in his performance in this production. (Go to IMDB and check his credentials--you have probably seen and heard him dozens of times
in older TV performances---he's one of those expert actors who
never dominated--never called attention to himself----because he didn't have to--he was too GOOD!)Anyone who can honestly watch the scene with Mr. Aidman having his eyes ripped out by Cornwall and still say that the actors are emotionally dull---must not have made it through to this scene.
My advice would be to check out this restrained and very unadorned production, which relies, as Shakespeare should, upon the eloquence and conviction of the actors. True, the cast IS variable (with some pretty funky accents at times), there are numerous small nips and tucks in the text, plus there's a really cheesy, early 80's synthesizer score (minimal, though)--- but it's still very well done, especially since it gives us a last look at the unique Mr. Mike Kellin in all of his distinctive glory."