Monday, September 27, 2010

Maggie Smith as Beatrice in 1967

Much Ado About Nothing. Dir. Alan Cooke. Perf. Derek Jacobi, Robert Stephens and Maggie Smith. BBC. 5 February 1967.
Earlier this month, the British Film Institute and the Library of Congress announced the re-discovery of over sixty BBC television broadcasts long thought lost.

A few days ago, the Library of Congress posted two brief clips from those no-longer-lost broadcasts. One of them is of Maggie Smith as Beatrice:

Here's the script they're following (Shakespeare's text is slightly edited):
By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.

For the which blessing I am at him upon my knees every morning and evening. Lord, I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face: I had rather lie in the woollen.

You may light on a husband that hath no beard.

What should I do with him? Dress him in my apparel and make him my waiting-gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth; he that hath no beard is less than a man: he that is more than a youth, I am not for him; he that is less than a man, he is not for me. Therefore, I will hire myself out for sixpence a day, as the virgin in the proverb, and lead apes into hell.

Well, then, go you into hell?

Oh, no, no. But to the gate. (II.i.18-43)
We all devoutly hope for a full DVD release of the film from which this rare glimpse into BBC Shakespeare in the 1950s and 1960s comes.

Links: The Film at IMDB. The Blog Post by the Library of Congress. The Complete List of the Films Discoverd.


CRS said...

Great find! It's so inspiring to gain perspective on the careers of actors that I would only know otherwise from their later years. Thanks for posting this.

kj said...

Thanks, Christopher! I'll pass those thanks on to the Library of Congress for making this brief clip available. may the whole thing follow shortly!


Anonymous said...

This is absolutely wonderful! I agree, I've only seen Maggie Smith in her later films (Downton, Harry Potter etc) and it's lovely to see her in the theatre as opposed to on screen. I am studying "Much Ado" in English at school and it's incredibly helpful to watch how Beatrice is portrayed in the theatre, as the modern films can often interpret the characters slightly differently . I would LOVE to see the whole film!

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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