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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

RICHARD III

Blu-ray review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS:  104 minutes, trailers, booklet

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition

AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

 

STUDIO: Twilight Time/ MGM/ 20th Century Fox/ United Artists/ British Screen/ First Look Pictures

RELEASE DATE: 4-14-2015

RICHARD III is one of the more interesting adaptations of a William Shakespeare play.  I didn’t warm to it when I first saw it on VHS about 20 years ago, but a second viewing on blu-ray shows how great it is from Ian McKellan’s great performance as Richard (before he went on to do his two most iconic roles as Gandalf and Magneto), the production design, and the wonderful script by Ian McKellan and director Richard Loncrane (based on a recent stage production that also starred Ian McKellan)).   This adaptation takes place in a fascist version of Greta Britain during the 1930s as Richard plans to claim the throne for himself after he helps end a civil war.  He turns his brothers against each other and marries the widow (Kristin Scott Thomas) of his dead enemy while the Queen (Annette Benning) and her brother (Robert Downey Jr.) have doubts about his intentions towards the King who is in ill health.   As time goes on, you see Richard turning England into a fascist state as he walks around in a Nazi style uniform hiding his own physical deformities.  This movie acts as a cautionary tale and Shakespeare tragedy in one as Ian McKellan plays the part of the two faced Richard to perfection with a great cast of well recognized British actors (Jim Broadbent, Nigel Hawthorne, Maggie Smith) if you have watched a enough British TV and films.    Annette Benning holds her own in every scene she is in with Ian.   RICHARD III has now become one of my favorite movie adaptations of the famous Bard’s plays- right up there with any Shakespeare adaptation by Julie Tamor and Kenneth Branaugh.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Isolated Music and Effects track

 

Original theatrical trailer

MGM 90th Anniversary trailer

 

Eight page booklet with a wonderful essay by Julie Kirgo

 

I wish there was an audio commentary or even a featurette, but the movie does look and sound great on blu-ray.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: RICHARD III is a tight thriller with a masterful turn from Ian McKellan in one of the bets Shakespeare to film adaptations ever made.   Buy the blu-ray before all 3000 copies are gone since this is a limited edition through Twilight Time.

 

This review is 5-6-2015 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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