Al Pacino’s super 1996 home movie documentary on William Shakespeare’s play Richard III and its meaning and significance is a riveting mix of documentary and drama. His cameras follow an all-star cast and crew throughout rehearsals of the play, eavesdropping on the behind-the-scenes process that goes into creating characters and mounting a production.
It is constructed with fascinating interviews, with the likes of Kenneth Branagh, Vanessa Redgrave and John Gielgud discussing iambic pentameters and the like, and film of scenes from the play. It adds up to an absorbing and informative entertainment that may help to make Shakespeare more accessible to audiences.
It was surprisingly given the full big-studio release by Twentieth Century Fox, a tribute to Pacino’s star power. It is Pacino’s directorial debut. The narration is written by Pacino and Frederic Kimball. Pacino says: ‘You shouldn’t have to understand every word. Just trust it. You’ll get it.’
On screen are Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Aidan Quinn, Winona Ryder, Kevin Spacey, Penelope Allen, Kevin Conway, Estelle Parsons, Harris Yulin, Julie Moret, Kenneth Branagh, Vanessa Redgrave, John Gielgud, James Earl Jones and Kevin Kline.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4189
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