Tuesday, May 8, 2012

King Lear in Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Dir. Zach Helm. Perf. Natalie Portman, Dustin Hoffman, and Jason Bateman. 2007. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 2008.

Several years ago, two of my students mentioned that there was a reference to King Lear in what was then a recent film. I finally got around to watching the film this year, and I'm just getting around to posting on it.

The recent news of Maurice Sendak's death brought the film to mind. In Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, Mr. Magorium's time to die has come. Despite the objections raised by Molly Mahoney, his friend, compatriot, and employee, Mr. Magorium calmly explains that his story is drawing to an end, and he uses the stage direction Shakespeare uses at the end of King Lear's life to contemplate and to explain his own departure:

The speech is moving—even as the Shakespearean in me is wondering whether Mr. Magorium is referring to Q1 of King Lear from 1608 or Q2, published in 1619, or the First Folio of 1623, the words' effect is not lost.

Since you're wondering, the stage direction in question comes from 1623. In the quartos, Lear isn't given a dying stage direction.

Links: The Film at IMDB.

Click below to purchase the film from amazon.com
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).



Stuart Ian Burns said...

It's also of course subliminally set in the Doctor Who universe:


kj said...

Interesting! The Wonder Emporium is a TARDIS, eh? Not bad.

And the film is underrated--I thought it was quite marvelous.

Thanks for the comment, and ake care!


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.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

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