Richard III (1955)

October 20th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Laurence Olivier | Cast: Laurence Olivier, Claire Bloom, Cedric Hardwicke, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson | UK Drama 151’

Olivier’s third cinematic version of Shakespeare – the fourth if you count Paul Czinner’s film of ‘As You Like It’ – was probably his most parsimonious (the budget ran to VistaVision and Technicolor but Bosworth Field was shot in Spain to keep costs down and the difference in the lighting is in stark contrast to the rest of the film; along with the incongruous presence of the young Stanley Baker as the Earl of Richmond).

It was rapturously received by critics and is to this day considered one of the finest adaptations of the bard, which makes Olivier’s inability to raise the finance to make a version of ‘Macbeth’ even more to be regretted.

Olivier himself is plainly having the time of his life eying the camera as he shares his cunning plans; while the film’s cleverest conceit has to be the inclusion of an almost entirely wordless Pamela Brown drifting through the periphery of the action as Edward IV’s mistress Jane Shore. @RichardChatten


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