Thursday, July 7, 2011

King Lear in The Madness of King George

The Madness of King George. Dir. Nicholas Hytner. Perf. Nigel Hawthorne, Helen Mirren, and Ian Holm. 1994. DVD. MGM, 2001.

I think I've gathered enough material for a few posts on the use of King Lear in films that aren't King Lear.

The first of them comes from a pair of alert readers. They let me know that there's a scene in The Madness of King George in which King Lear plays a prominent role. When films are made about British Kings, Shakespeare has to be there (cf. The King's Speech, for which, q.v.).

This scene is very nicely layered and quite moving. The mad king (recovering a bit from his madness at this point in the film) plays Shakespeare's greatest mad king (also recovering a bit from his madness at this point in the play).

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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The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest