itv’s TV Take Of ‘The Sound Of Music’ Will “Score” With Musical Fans

Courtesy: itv/Shout! Factory

Sixty years have passed this year since Rodgers & Hammerstein’s timeless musical The Sound Of Music made its stage debut.  The timeless musical, which was based on the memoir of Maria Von Trapp went on to earn five Tony® awards.  This is despite the historical inaccuracies in the story.  The story won the awards — and went on to spawn an equally famed big-screen musical in 1965, that starred actress Julie Andrews – because of its musical numbers and performances by its cast.  20th Century Fox’s 1965 film adaptation of the play was just one of countless adaptations of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s timeless work that have been crafted on stage and screen around the world.  British broadcasting network itv produced its own TV take on the play in the form of The Sound of Music Live in 2015. Its broadcast was followed early last November with a Blu-ray home release of the production, courtesy of Shout! Factory.  The presentation is one that any die-hard fan of The Sound of Music will appreciate. That is due in part to its story, which will be discussed shortly.  Its very presentation also plays into its appeal, and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content included with the show’s home release is important to its appeal, too, and will be discussed later as well.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the home release of The Sound of Music Live.  All things considered, they make The Sound of Music Live a good addition to the library of any musical fan’s library and to that of any devotee of The Sound of Music.

British broadcaster itv’s 2015 small-screen take of The Sound of Music is a work that is certain to appeal to musical theater fans just as much as devotees of The Sound of Music.  That is thanks in part to its story.  The story presented here uses Rodgers & Hammerstein’s original musical, which made its stage debut in 1959, as its source more so than the 1965 big screen adaptation, which starred Julie Andrews as Maria. However, much of what is included in the cinematic take is also included in the stage version, so audiences get here, the best of both worlds.  Given there are some slight alterations between the 1965 version and this take, such as how the Von Trapp family ultimately escapes the Nazis (not to give away too much) and the initial ‘Do-Re-Me’ scene.  That number’s setting is different in the two versions.  The execution of the ‘Edelweiss’ number is also slightly different between the two versions, especially considering that in itv’s take, there is only one performance of the song while in the 1965 version, the song is performed twice in two separate settings.  This is just one of the few differences that exist between itv’s live version of The Sound of Music and 20th Century Fox’s 1965 presentation of the story.  There are other minute variances between each take.  The fact that the differences are so minute ensures even more, that this version will still appeal to fans of the original play and those who are more loyal to the story’s cinematic standard.  The story is just one part of what makes this performance of The Sound of Music so widely-appealing to audiences.  The show’s very presentation adds to its appeal even more.

The presentation of The Sound of Music Live is important to address in examining the movie in that it adds to the ability of audiences to suspend their disbelief.  This includes the sets and cinematography.  Audiences get a behind-the-scenes look at the sets in the presentation’s bonus material.  This will be discussed a little later.  The sets give the feeling that they could just as easily have been used in an actual stage presentation of the classic musical, yet are just enough to give the show a little bit of a cinematic feel at the same time.  That attention to detail and balance makes the show’s set designers worthy of their own share of applause.  The equally sharp camera work throughout gives even more, that feeling of a stage presentation on screen without being too much over the top.  The movements and the shots themselves couple with the sets to give audiences the best seat in the house.  It’s like being in a theater watching the musical take place, but not having to deal with the noise and congestion created by other people.  In other words, the sets and cinematography presented in The Sound of Music Live do just as much for the show’s overall presentation as its story.  That collective is not the last of the presentation’s most important elements.  The bonus content featured in its Blu-ray release is key in its own way to the whole package.

The bonus content featured as part of The Sound of Music Live’s home release is made up of a full-length audio commentary track featuring lead stars Kara Tointon and Julian Ovenden, as well as the previously noted behind-the-scenes featurette.  The behind-the-scenes featurette is enlightening in its own right, as it shows viewers the intensity of the preparations for the show (roughly two months worth of preps to be exact).  It also shows how hard it was to actually put on the show once the proverbial curtain lifted.  That alone makes for more appreciation for the show.  The bonus feature-length commentary adds its own share of enlightenment and interest.  That is thanks to the variety of items that Tointon and Ovenden discuss.  The pair addresses items, such as Tointon’s lack of knowledge about playing guitar, thee difficulty of shooting a stage presentation for the small screen and commentary that the cast and crew received from audiences in Austria.  They note that the noted audiences were not happy with The Sound of Music in general because of the story’s historical inaccuracies.  That’s just a sampling of what was discussed in the commentary.  The pair also talks briefly about the use of the stock footage as part of the show, the humility of the younger cast members and the success of the casting for other parts, just to name a little bit more.  Between all of this and the items not mentioned in reference to the bonus commentary (and the behind-the-scenes featurette), the bonus content featured in this Blu-ray adds even more appeal for the overall presentation.  When it is considered along with the story and the show’s aesthetic elements, the whole proves to be a presentation that will appeal to plenty of audiences.

itv’s small-screen iteration of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical The Sound of Music Live is a work that will appeal easily to musical fans in general as well as to devoted fans of the noted musical.  That is due in part to the show’s story with includes elements of the 1965 cinematic adaptation from 20th Century Fox and of the original stage musical.  The sets and cinematography presented in the show collectively add more interest and appeal to the presentation.  The bonus content featured in the show’s Blu-ray release adds its own share of interest to the presentation, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of The Sound of Music Live.  All things considered, the show is one that, again, is certain to appeal to musical devotees across the board.  The Sound of Music Live is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

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‘Endeavour: Season 5’ U.S. Release Date Announced

Courtesy: itv/PBS Distribution

itv’s hit crime drama Endeavour wrapped its fifth season this past March, and now Season 5 is coming home for the series’ American audiences.

Public Media Distribution will release Masterpiece Mystery!Endeavour Season 5 July 10.  It will be released on DVD ($39.99) and Blu-ray ($49.99).  In the fifth season of the international hit series, it’s 1968, and turmoil is brewing inside and outside the Cowley Police Station.

As Endeavour Morse takes a new recruit named Fancy (Lewis Peek — PoldarkCurse of the PhoenixDartmoor Killing) under his wing, his current partner, Thursday (Roger Allam — V For VendettaPirates of the CaribbeanOn Stranger TidesThe Wind That Shakes The Barley) is considering retirement.  Organized crime is also on the rise in Oxford, causing plenty of concern for Morse and company.

Season 5 opens with an auction of a famed Faberge Egg at Lonsdale College.  It catches the attention of an international thief — and in turn, the police — upon the report of a failed burglary.  That case turns to an even bigger investigation into a serial killer.  Along the way, Morse ends up taking the aforementioned Fancy under his wing, but not entirely willingly.

In ‘Cartouche,’ the second of Season 5’s episodes, a horror movie filming in Oxford crosses with the investigation into the poisoning of a former detective sergeant as Morse and Thursday are led to a theater in their investigation.  It just so happens that the theater is hosting the stars of that horror film at a special event.  Things take an even more unexpected turn when the theater’s organist is also poisoned, leading the movie’s stars to think an Egyptian  curse is to blame for the poisonings.  The reality though, is much darker.

‘Passenger,’ the season’s third episode follows Endeavour as he investigates a woman’s disappearance, fearing it may be linked to a cold case involving the death of a teenager killed years ago.  Thursday meanwhile, is investigating a truck hijacking that is believed to have been linked to organized crime in the city.

The death of a model following a photoshoot on an army base lies at the center of the season’s fourth episode, ‘Colours.’  Things get even more complicated when Sam Thursday — the son of Morse’s partner — is implicated in the model’s death, leading him to be sidelined.  DS Jim Strange takes Thursday’s place during the investigation.  Tensions rise between the pair during the investigation, especially after a second model is found dead and more secrets are revealed.

‘Quartet,’ the season’s fifth episode, is a turning point for Morse and Thursday as Thursday decides to step away and work more from home following an investigation into an attempted assassination.  While the investigation into the assassination attempt is halted, Morse wants to keep investigating, leading him deeper into the underbelly of Oxford than ever before, and revealing even more secrets than ever thought.  Thursday meanwhile, has to face his own issues as he works from home.

The season’s finale continues the turning point in Morse and Thursday’s working relationship after Thursday’s brother returns suddenly.  Meanwhile, Morse is investigating  a case at a school involving the disappearance of a teacher and the appearance of a body.  The discovery leads Morse to question who he can and cannot trust.

While audiences will have to wait until July 10 for Season 5 to be released on DVD and Blu-ray, the wait for its American television premiere is much shorter.  Season 5 is currently scheduled to premiere on PBS stations nationwide June 24.  Audiences can view a full season trailer for Season 5 online now here.

Season 5 is spread across three discs on each platform with a total run time of 540 minutes.  It can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store at reduced prices of $34.99 (DVD) and $44.99 (Blu-ray).  More information on Endeavour is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/shows/endeavour

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‘Endeavour: Season 4′ Lives Up To PBS’ “Masterpiece” Moniker

Courtesy: itv/Public Media Distribution/PBS

Early this past September, Public Media Distribution released to American audiences the fourth season of PBS’ hit British import Endeavour.  The latest season of the phenomenal crime drama is yet another successful release for both itv and PBS that shows once again why this series easily bests any American crime drama on television today.  That is proven in part to the writing in more than one way.  This will be discussed shortly.  The work of the series’ cast cannot be ignored in examining this latest of the series’ installments.  It will be discussed later.  Last but definitely not least of note in examining this season’s recent home release is its bonus material.  It, like the season’s writing and acting, plays its own important part to the whole of the season’s presentation.  All things considered, the fourth season of Endeavour proves to be yet another entertaining offering from one of the U.K.’s top crime dramas.

Endeavour: The Complete Fourth Season has been available to American audiences for almost two months, having been released Sept. 5 via Public Media Distribution.  For those who perhaps have not yet had the opportunity to view this latest installment in the ongoing series, it goes without saying that it is another enjoyable effort for the series.  That is due in no small part to the work of the series’ writers.  This applies both to the stories featured in this season and to the series’ interweaving subplots.  All four of this season’s episodes give something totally different from one to the next.  The season premiere, for instance, is easily comparable to the story at the center of the hit 19999 Denzel Washington/Angelina Jolie crime blockbuster The Bone Collector.  At the same time, a comparison to author Dianne Setterfield’s novel The 13th Tale in the story, too (not to give away too much of the plot).  The second episode, ‘Canticle’ plays directly off of the summer of love for its central story.  Even with this in mind, it still manages to make itself an intriguing story nonetheless.  ‘Lazaretto,’ the season’s penultimate episode, changes things up yet again by taking place almost entirely in a hospital ward as Morse tries to find out why occupants of one bed keep dying.  The answer plays out almost like something right out of today’s headlines (again, not to give away too much).  There is even a nice, action packed police foot chase complete with gunfire for action fans.  The season finale, ‘Harvest’ centers around a body found during an archaeological dig. The killer may or may not be connected to a pagan ritual held near a power station.  It is yet another story that stands easily on its own feet separate from its counterparts in this season.  That distinct identity of the season’s stories is but one part of what makes the season’s writing stand out so much.  The writers’ ability to balance the stories with their underlying, interweaving subplots strengthens the writing even more.

Audiences will note in watching this season that while the central stories are solidly entertaining in their own right, they are not the only stories featured throughout the episodes.  From one episode to the next, the writers make sure to not forget the Thursdays’ anxiousness over their daughter Joan as well as Endeavour’s personal struggle with himself over his feelings for her.  Given, it is a serial element, but the writers at no point ever allow this element to overpower the season’s central standalone stories.  That balance gives fans of serials and standalone series alike something to anticipate and appreciate.

As if the stories presented within each of this season’s episodes are not enough for audiences (and their balance with the episodes’ secondary stories), the writers’ ability to keep audiences guessing right up until the end of each episode proves to be yet another way in which the writing proves so critical.  The stories put in just enough red herrings and twists to keep viewers completely engaged right to each story’s end without leaving viewers confused.  When this is considered along with the already discussed elements in the season’s writing, it becomes wholly clear why the writing is so critical to the season’s overall presentation.  It is only one part of what makes this season so engaging.  The work of the series’ cast is once again just as notable as the work of the show’s writers.

The series’ cast – most notably lead stars Shaun Evans and Roger Allum – is top-notch once more in this season. This especially the case as Endeavour and Thursday raise personal matters in each story.  Thursday becomes a powerfully sympathetic character as he tries to cope his daughter’s disappearance. Allum’s handling of Thursday’s emotional struggle makes these moments so powerful, even in their simplicity.  In the same breath, his stress at trying to fill in for Chief Superintendent Bright late in the season is just as engaging.  It is another way in which the writers develop Thursday’s character even more this season and another example of Allum’s expert acting chops.

Evans’ acting chops are just as notable as those of Allum this time around.  The way in which he handles’ Morse’s continued dedication to his job alone will keep audiences engaged.  His reaction at discovering the result of his Sergeant’s exam clearly exemplifies this.  His reaction at finally locating Joan (there again is that secondary story aspect) is just as moving and will keep viewers just as engaged as his handling of Morse’s casework.  When the work of the series’ supporting cast and extras is added alongside the work of Allum and Evans, the whole of the cast’s work does plenty to add its own share of engagement and entertainment to this season, showing in whole why the cast’s work is just as important as the work of the series’ writers.  It is not the last of the season’s most notable elements.  The bonus material that is included in the season’s home release is the last of those elements.

The bonus material included in Season 4’s home release includes a group of behind-the-scenes featurettes that discuss a handful of items.  From the series’ look as it applies to the era in which the season is set (the late 1960s) to Evans discussing his take on his character and on Morse’s relationship with Joan Thursday to Evans even taking a shot at being a cameraman behind the scenes, audiences are given quite the insight into how this season came to life.  Viewers will appreciate the discussion on the sets and costumes in “Making Endeavour in Oxford” because it shows the efforts taken to recreate 1960s Oxford.  Evans’ discussions on Morse and Morse’s relationship with Joan adds even more to that one underlying subplot that runs throughout all four episodes, adding even more interest to this season.  When that interest is joined with the interest created through the cast’s work and that of the series’ writers, the whole of those elements makes this season of Endeavour some of the show’s best work to date.

The fourth season of itv’s Endeavour is some of the series’ best work to date.  Even at only four episodes, this season offers audiences plenty to appreciate including the extensive work by the series’ writers.  The ast’s work adds even more interest to this season.  The bonus material included in the season’s home release outs the finishing touch to the season.  Each element is important in its own right to the season’s home presentation. All things considered, they make the season in whole another fully engaging offering from what is one of the U.K.’s best crime dramas.  It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other PBS Masterpiece series is available online at:

 

 

 

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‘Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour’ Returns Sunday

Endeavour returns tomorrow.

The fourth season of Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour begins at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide.  The series’ fourth season opens with yet another major mystery for Endeavour Morse to solve.  This time, the clock is ticking as Endeavour tries to solve the connection between a drowning and a chess-playing “thinking” machine.

Audiences can view a trailer for Season 4’s premiere episode online now here.

Courtesy: PBS/itv

Support for Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour is provided by Viking River Cruises and Farmers Insurance.

More information on Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour is available online now along with all of the series’ latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: www.pbs.org/masterpiece

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

 

 

 

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Public Media Distribution Announces ‘Endeavour: Season 4’ Domestic Release Date

Courtesy: itv/Public media Distribution/PBS

Public Media Distribution is bringing home the fourth season of the hit British crime drama Endeavour this summer.

Endeavour: Season Four will be released Sept. 4, just as summer starts to wind down and the weather starts to change, giving audiences plenty to enjoy through the rest of this year.  Season 4 picks up right where Season 3 left off with the young Detective Morse and his partner Thursday dealing with more personal and work issues.

Morse waits in the series fourth season for the results of his Sergeant’s exam at work while dealing with emotional issues off the job.  Thursday and Win have their own issues as Sam has left for the army and Joan has gone off to points unknown.

Season 4’s four episodes—‘Game,’ ‘Canticle,’ ‘Lazaretto,’ and ‘Harvest’—are spread across two discs, totaling 480 minutes.  The DVD will retail for MSRP of $34.99 and the Blu-ray for 44.99.  It will be listed soon online via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other PBS Masterpiece series is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/masterpiece

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‘Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series” Positives Outweigh Its Negatives

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

Early this year, itv and PBS’ hit serial drama Mr. Selfridge took its final bow with the conclusion of the series’ fourth season.  In celebration of the series’ end, PBS Distribution released the series in its own complete series box set last month.  The set is a good gift idea for fans who might not already own the series’ previous standalone sets.  That is due in part to the set’s pricing, its key element.  While the pricing is a key positive to note, the set’s availability only on DVD is something of a negative that must be addressed.  This will be discussed later.  The availability of the series’ original bonus material in this collection makes up for the set’s primary negative.  Each element is important to note in its own right, to be fair.  All things considered, Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series is still a set that the series’ fans will want to have in their DVD libraries.

Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series is a fitting final statement for fans of the beloved itv and PBS series.  That is due in part to the collection’s price.  The collection’s average price The set is listed at a rather wide range of prices from one retailer to the next.  When those prices are averaged out, though, the set averages at approximately $63.  So considering that average and the collective cost of the series’ standalone season sets, the average price of this set proves to be its own positive.  This is the case even considering that PBS’ price for the set is the most expensive at $85.  When one adds up the cost of the series’ standalone season sets both on Blu-ray and on DVD through various outlets including PBS, the collective pricing of each by itself is still more expensive than this new set’s most expensive price.  That is especially true when one adds in the cost of shipping and handling to those collective prices.  Keeping all of this in mind, while the set’s price varies from one outlet to the next, it is still lower than the collective price of the series’ standalone season sets.  That maintains its place as a clear positive to the set’s presentation.  While it is a clear positive, the set is not exactly perfect in its presentation.  That is because it is presented only on DVD.

The pricing for Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series is clearly a positive that must be noted in examining this full series presentation of the show.  While it is an important piece of the set’s presentation, it is not the only element that must be noted.  The fact that the full series set is available only on DVD must also be noted.  For whatever reason, the show’s full series set is available only on DVD.  Audiences are not given the option to watch it on Blu-ray as well.  Sure, it might be a little more expensive than the DVD set.  But said set would likely be less expensive than the collective cost of the series’ standalone Blu-ray sets.  It is a minor complaint to have, certainly, but still one that must be addressed.  The same was an issue with the full series presentation of Inspector Lewis.  It would have been nice to see that set released on Blu-ray as well as DVD, too.  Even with that in mind, the availability of Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series exclusively on DVD is the set’s only real negative.  Considering this, the set is not a total loss.  The inclusion of the bonus material included in each of the series’ standalone sets is also presented here.  It makes up for the negative that is the set’s exclusivity on DVD.

The pricing for Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series and the set’s availability exclusively on DVD are both key to the set’s presentation.  The pricing is a positive while the availability of the set only on DVD is a bit of a negative, but it doesn’t completely ruin the set.  Even with that one negative in mind, this set is still a good addition to the home DVD library of any of the show’s fans.  That is especially the case considering the fact that the set also includes the bonus material that was included in the series’ standalone season sets.  That material includes cast and crew interviews, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and even a documentary focused on the downfall of Henry Selfridge in the series’ final season among much more.  The fact that all of the bonus material included in the series’ standalone season sets is included here more than makes up for the fact that the series is available only on DVD.  It make that lone negative trivial even as important as it is to note.  All things considered Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series proves itself to be a piece that any of this hit series’ fans will want to have in their home DVD libraries.

Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series is a good addition to the home DVD library of any of the series’ fans.  That is due, again, in part to the set’s pricing and the inclusion of the bonus material presented in each season’s standalone season set.  While all of this stands out positively in examining the series’ presentation, it isn’t without its negatives either.  The set is available only on DVD.  Audiences are not given the option to view the series on Blu-ray even though its standalone season sets were available on both DVD and Blu-ray.  Even with this in mind, the set’s two brighter positives outweigh that one negative, maintaining the set as a welcome addition to the DVD library of any of the series’ fans.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other Masterpiece titles from PBS is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/masterpiece

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Shout! Factory’s Re-Issue Of ATV’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ Is A “Rich” New Re-Issue

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

William Shakespeare is one of the most revered writers and playwrights in literary history.  For centuries his plays have been considered among the best works by critics ad audiences alike.  They have been adapted and re-adapted time and again, both in books and onscreen throughout the ages.  This past May Shout! Factory re-issued one of those countless adaptations when it released The Merchant of Venice.  The adaptation in question was a 1973 TV movie produced by Associated Television (ATV) and itv in the UK.  ABC handled broadcast duties for the special in the United States.  Neither its first nor it last adaptation, there is plenty to appreciate about this incarnation of the timeless story beginning with the story itself.  This will be discussed shortly.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note as the story itself.  Last but hardly least of note in the movie’s presentation is in fact its very presentation.  It is presented here exactly as it was in its original 1973 broadcast.  It rounds out the movie’s most important elements in its new DVD re-issue and is just one of the movie’s most important elements.  Together with the movie’s other noted elements, all three elements join together to make Shout! Factory’s re-issue of ATV’s 1973 adaptation of The Merchant of Venice one of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

Shout! Factory’s new DVD re-issue of ATV’s 1973 take on Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is one of 2016’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  This is due in part to the movie’s story.  Audiences will be pleased to know that the story presented in this incarnation has not changed one bit from Shakespeare’s original play.  The only thing that has changed between the two stories is the play’s setting.  Whereas the original play was set in Italy, one has to assume by the backdrop and costumes here that the story takes place in early 19th Century England.  While the setting might have changed the story still fits interestingly enough.  That is thanks to the story, which centers on young Bassanio’s attempt to win the heart of Portia.  The problem is that in order to win her heart he needs the money to do so, which he doesn’t have.  So how does he get it?  He gets it by going to loan shark (let’s be realistic, that’s what he is—a loan shark) Shylock in order to obtain the funds.  In the process Bassanio gets his friend Antonio wrapped up in his own problems by essentially making Antonio a co-signer on his (Bassanio’s) loan without his knowledge.  This sounds like the setup for a drama.  But in reality it is a comedy loaded with plenty of moments that will entertain audiences.  Audiences will laugh happily as Portia and her friend trick Portia’s suitors so as to keep Portia from having to marry any of them.  Bassanio’s reaction to the women singing right at him as he makes his choice is just as entertaining.  Shylock even presents some funny moments in the story.  One of the funniest comes as Shylock discovers the fate of his daughter for whom he was so worried.  It shows the type of person that he really is.  As despicable as he is, one can’t help but laugh at his reaction.  It’s one more way in which the movie’s story, which again stays true to Shakespeare’s original play here—save for the setting—proves to be so important to its presentation in its new DVD re-issue.  The story is just one way in which this take on The Merchant of Venice shows itself to be so enjoyable for Shakespeare fans.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note in its presentation as the story.

The story at the center of ATV’s 1973 take of The Merchant of Venice is a hugely important part of the movie’s presentation.  Audiences will be pleased to know that even in a seemingly updated setting the story stays true to Shakespeare’s original play.  While it is an important part of the movie’s whole the story is just one important part of the movie’s presentation.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note as the story.  Lead actor Laurence Olivier is flawless as the money-grubbing loan shark Shylock in this presentation of the play.  He completely embraces the character and in turn makes audiences love to hate him.  He makes Shylock a completely unscrupulous figure.  One can’t help but wonder, in watching Olivier’s performance if perhaps Charles Dickens might have in fact gotten some influence for Ebeneezer Scrooge from Shakespeare’s original Shylock in watching Olivier’s performance.  Yes, this movie was presented in 1973.  But the story goes back far more years than that, again leaving one to wonder if this character might have, again, been the original influence behind Dickens’ despised businessman.  The similarities between the pair are inescapable.  That is especially exhibited as Shylock shows no remorse in making Antonio Bassario’s “co-signer” even though Antonio isn’t even there to speak for himself.  All Shylock cares about is getting his money back.  Shylock’s reaction to the money spent by his daughter after she leaves home is another way in which Olivier shows his expertise.  He goes in an instant to being completely worried about her to being completely enraged at the money spent.  It is a wonderful moment.  His is just one performance that makes this movie so enjoyable for Shakespeare fans.  Joan Plowright’s take on Portia is just as fun to watch.

Laurence Olivier’s take on Shylock in this version of The Merchant of Venice is a prime example of why the cast’s work in this movie is so pivotal to its presentation.  Joan Plowright’s take on Portia is just as important to note.  Audiences, especially female audiences, will love how headstrong and confident Plowright makes Portia.  This confidence is exhibited throughout the course of the movie.  One of the most notable moments in which it is displayed comes as Antonio reveals what Bassanio has done.  She replies that they should basically pay him double and have the loan done with.  Her matter of fact tone in addressing the issue will leave audiences laughing just as much as any of Olivier’s moments.  In the same vein, her wit as she discusses having to deal with her suitors is just as entertaining.  She says of one suitor that if she is to marry him, she may as well marry a hundred men.  The tone of her voice in this delivery is hilarious and will have especially female audiences crack up because no doubt even today’s female audiences would be able to relate to some point to this moment.  It’s just one more example of Plowright’s talent in front of the camera and one more example of what makes the cast’s work so important to the movie’s presentation in whole.  It would be so easy to discuss the rest of the movie’s cast along with Plowright and Olivier.  But that would take far more time and space than is possible.  So suffice it to say that considering the work of both Olivier and Plowright joins together with that of their cast mates to keep audiences just as entertained and engaged in interpreting each scene as the story itself.  Now, having noted this, the story and the cast’s work on camera are not the movie’s only important elements.  The movie’s very presentation is just as important to note here as the story and the cast’s work.

The story at the heart of The Merchant of Venice and the work of the movie’s cast in this incarnation of the play are both key elements in its presentation.  The story stays largely true to Shakespeare’s original play, thus keeping it entertaining and engaging for audiences.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note as its story.  That is because just as with the story itself, the cast will keep audiences just as entertained and engaged as the story.  For all of the positives presented by the story and the cast in this take of The Merchant of Venice these two elements are not the movie’s only key elements.  The story’s overall presentation is just as important to note as the story and the cast’s work.  Audiences will note in watching the movie’s two-hour plus presentation (it comes in at just a little more than two hours) that it is set up as if it was a play being acted out on television.  What that means is that instead of just being one long movie it is instead broken up into acts.  This means that audiences will not feel like they have to completely invest themselves in the movie in one sitting.  Rather, it allows audiences to stop the movie at specific points without feeling like they have missed anything and then come back to the movie later if need be.  Or they can even stop it at the “act breaks” go use the restroom and get a snack, and come back for the next act just as if they were taking in the movie in a live setting.  Even better they could do just that without having to navigate a sea of other people in doing so, too.  This makes the viewing experience even better.  It shows that even some forty-three years ago the people behind the presentation actually thought this through.  That is good thinking to say the very least.  And more than four decades later it still proves to be a hugely important part of the movie’s presentation.  That ability to stop and take a break will actually allow viewers to talk about each act, clear their heads, etc.  It enhances the movie’s viewing experience to no end.  Keeping this in mind, it shows why the story’s presentation (exactly as it was in its original airing) is just as important to the movie’s overall presentation as any other element.  Together with the movie’s story and the work of the movie’s cast, it rounds out the most important of this movie’s elements and shows once and for all why this version of The Merchant of Venice is a must see for any Shakespeare fan as well as on of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

Shout! Factory’s re-issue of ATV’s The Merchant of Venice is one of 2016’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  The forty-three year old movie is a must see for any Shakespeare fan.  That is because its story stays true largely to Shakespeare’s original play.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to its presentation as its story.  Sir Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright lead the movie’s cast in this incarnation.  That the movie is presented as a play on screen, complete with act breaks, enhances the movie’s viewing experience to no end.  Each element proves in the end to be important in its own right.  Altogether they make this take on The Merchant of Venice one that, again, every Shakespeare fan should see at least once if not more.  In the end, all three elements make this release one of the year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-drama/the-merchant-of-venice.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

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