Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Ralph Richardson, Alec Clunes, Pamela Brown, Claire Bloom, Norman Wooland / Fiction / English
Much imitated; never bettered.
Every modern actor who plays Shakespeare's villainous king competes with Laurence Olivier's interpretation. Even Antony Sher - who ironically went on to win the Laurence Olivier Award for his performance in the 1985 RSC season - wrote of being haunted throughout rehearsal by a sleekly creepy, black-clad Larry. Flamboyant, tense, entirely gripping, and lent a cheeky modern edge by Olivier's direct addresses to the camera, this is a peerless screen Shakespeare, illuminated by its savage wit and its low glimmer of violence and sexuality. Co-stars include Ralph Richardson as Buckingham, John Gielgud as Clarence, and a devastatingly frail and beautiful Claire Bloom as Lady Anne.
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