Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters' blessing": Brian Blessed as King Lear

King Lear. Dir. Brian Blessed. Perf. Brian Blessed, Hildegard Neil, Jason Riddington, and Phillippa Peak. 1999. DVD. Storm Bird, 2006.

Note: "Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters' blessing" is a line delivered by the Fool in King Lear (III.i.12-13).

Today is the first day of class, and I'm feeling a bit like Lear in the storm. I thought it would be wise, therefore, to take a look at one version of that scene on the blasted heath.

When they asked who could play Lear, one of the producers' nephews answered, "Good nuncle, in, and ask for Brian Blessed."

Blessed plays Lear and directs the play. He makes an interesting decision about the storm scene. Like Welles' Macbeth, Blessed's Lear has some soliloquies in voiceover. Observe:

I'm not entirely sure I like it . . . but it is interesting. And Brian Blessed has a marvelous presence.

Links: The Film at IMDB.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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