Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Richard III in Twin Peaks

"Episode 18" [a.k.a. "Masked Ball"]. By Barry Pullman. Perf. Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, and M├Ądchen Amick. Dir. Duwayne Dunham. Twin Peaks. Season 2, episode 18 [a.k.a Season 2, episode 11]. ABC. 15 December 1990. DVD. Paramount, 2007.

I don't imagine ever having the time to even watch—let alone comprehend—the cult classic television series Twin Peaks. Yet we find some Richard III there, too.

Since I don't fully understand what's going on . . . hold on—that was too mild. Let me start this paragraph over again.

Since I'm completely mystified by the show, I'll turn to a paragraph of summary provided by the Twin Peaks Episode Guide blog:
In his office, unshaven Ben Horne, looking as though he’d slept in his clothes, watches home movies of the groundbreaking of the Great Northern Hotel. “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York,” he recites as he approaches the screen to kiss his mother’s image.
And here's the clip:

And that's how Richard III week at Bardfilm comes to a close—not with a bang, but with a semi-confused "Huh?"

Have I missed any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below—but you might also try these Richard III-related clips:
Spectacular Spider-Man
Black Adder
Family Guy 1
Family Guy 2
King Rikki 1
King Rikki 2
Looking for Richard
Richard (Loncraine / McKellen)

Links: The Episode at IMDB.
Click below to purchase the series from amazon.com
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).


Monday, June 25, 2012

Richard III in Jesus of Montreal

Jesus of Montreal. Dir. Denys Arcand. Perf. Lothaire Bluteau, Catherine Wilkening, and Johanne-Marie Tremblay. 1989. DVD. Koch Lorber Films, 2004.

This quotation from Richard III may be more than just incidental—it certainly seems so—but I'm not familiar enough with the film to dig deeply into its significance.

But I can point out the connections between religion and theatre that the scene evokes. The film is about a theatre director who is hired to put on scenes from Christ's passion for a church pilgrimage of sorts. The unorthodox theology behind his presentation makes a number of people nervous and angry.

In the scene below, a character contemplates his own history. He presents theatre and religion as something of a dichotomy. He loved the theatre, but he felt that he had to pursue religion instead:

The rest of the film may, in part, be contemplating whether religion and theatre are irreconcilable entities. Perhaps it is even taking us back to the origins of the theatre in English—to the medieval mystery plays themselves.

Links: The Film at IMDB.

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


Friday, June 22, 2012

Richard III in The Wars of the Roses

King Richard III. Dir. Michael Bogdanov. Perf. Andrew Jarvis, Michael Pennington, Anne Penfold, June Watson, and Susanna Best. Wars of the Roses. 1990. DVD. Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 2005.

And now, in the category of terrific films that no reasonable person can reasonably afford, we have the series The Wars of the Roses, the English Shakespeare Company's astonishing production of both tetralogies. Yes, they filmed their series of plays that includes the plots of Richard II; Henry IV, Part One; Henry IV, Part II; Henry V; Henry VI, Part One; Henry VI, Part Two; Henry VI, Part Three; and Richard III. Amazing is too mild a word for it.

But it's also around $700 for the series, which is why you should have your library buy it for you (as I did).

Their Richard III opens with this excellent and humor-filled introduction to the cast. In under four minutes, they set the stage for the play, obliterating any confusion students, scholars, and general readers might face in encountering the play:

Links: The Series at IMDB.
Click to purchase
(or to have your library purchase)
the films from Films for the Humanities and Sciences.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Richard III in Magnum, P. I.

“Case of the Red Faced Thespian.” By Donald P. Bellisario and Glen A. Larson. Perf. Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, and Roger E. Mosley. Dir. Ivan Dixon. Magnum, P. I. Season 4, episode 12. CBS. 19 January 1984. DVD. Universal Studios, 2006.

While Runaway Train lies nearer to the sublime on the continuum, this episode of Magnum, P. I. moves along the scale toward the ridiculous.

I know very little about the conventions of the show, but this episode centers on a character named Higgins who is struck on the head by a croquet ball just before a 1920s Theme Party begins. He imagines himself to be the great (albeit fictional) Shakespearean actor Sir Fearing Pangborn. [As a side note, does anyone know whether that name is parodying any actor in particular? Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree? John Barrymore?] [Additional Note: See the comments below for the solid suggestion that the character actor Franklin Pangborn is the object of the mild parody.] Another character (T.C., for those in the know) is dressed as Paul Robeson—but he claims he's playing Paul Robeson playing Brutus Jones, so there's no additional Robeson-as-Othello material in this episode.

Here's a brief sample. Warning: It's quite silly, and impressional people should not be allowed to assume that Magnum's shirt-and-shorts combo is appropriate attire in the twenty-first century.

Links: The Episode at IMDB.
Click below to purchase the complete series from amazon.com
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).

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