Shakespeare, the Movie: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, and Video

By Lynda E. Boose; Richard Burt | Go to book overview

8

WHEN PETER MET ORSON

The 1953 CBS King Lear

Tony Howard

Grainy grey images, transmissions from a primaeval era less than fifty years ago. Videotape ages more brutally than film, but more hauntingly…. King Lear is carried out of the mill; as Mad Tom leaves with him, men and women converge on childless Gloucester. He is hemmed in by the dark grinding wheels. Goneril and Regan torment him and the camera slowly moves in, manoeuvring, ensuring the viewer will watch in close-up as Cornwall digs his thumb into the socket of Gloucester's eye. The camera does not look away…. Lear and Cordelia are reconciled; suddenly the enemy forces led by their general, Oswald, enter and cut the dialogue short. Father and daughter are seized without a battle…. In a dark corner of a New York t.v. studio King Lear drags a cloak across the floor; his dead daughter lies on it. He re-enters the empty stateroom where he divided the kingdom and he dies slumped in his throne. His last words are “Never, never, never, never, never.” Only Kent and Albany are left alive…

“A perversion…” (Wadsworth 1954)

“Unforgivably bad…” (Griffin 1955)

“This performance went into history as a stern lesson in what not to do with Shakespeare on television” (Rosenberg 1954) 1

In 1953 American academics were outraged by the King Lear broadcast live by CBS TV in its Sunday evening arts slot, Omnibus. Omnibus was prestigious-even in London the New Statesman praised its “serious, intelligent” programming 2 -and King Lear, presented by the Ford Foundation's TV-Radio Workshop, was budgeted generously at $150,000 and was broadcast, unusually, without commercial breaks. Advertised as the play's very first television production, it attracted enormous interest because of the collaboration at its centre: the director was Peter Brook, then the rising star of British theatre, and Lear was Orson Welles making his first appearance in America since film industry hostility drove him to work in Europe in 1948. By now Brook was twenty-eight, Welles thirty-eight, two ex-enfant terribles exploring Shakespeare's vision of old age.

King Lear was seen by 15 million people and won a high approval rating, but

-121-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Shakespeare, the Movie: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, and Video
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Plates vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Totally Clueless? 8
  • Notes 20
  • 2 - Race-Ing Othello, Re-Engendering White-Out 23
  • Notes 41
  • 3 - War is Mud 45
  • 4 - Top of the World, Ma 67
  • Notes 78
  • 5 - Popularizing Shakespeare 80
  • Notes 93
  • 6 - Shakespeare Wallah and Colonial Specularity 95
  • Notes 102
  • 7 - Poetry in Motion 103
  • References 119
  • 8 - When Peter Met Orson 121
  • References 134
  • 9 - In Search of Nothing 135
  • References 146
  • Stage Performances of King Lear Cited 147
  • 10 - A Shrew for the Times 148
  • Films and Videos Discussed 168
  • 11 - Shakespeare in the Age of Post-Mechanical Reproduction 169
  • References 185
  • 12 - Grossly Gaping Viewers and Jonathan Miller's Othello 186
  • 13 - Age Cannot Wither Him 198
  • Notes 213
  • 14 - Asta Nielsen and the Mystery of Hamlet 215
  • References 224
  • 15 - The Family Tree Motel 225
  • References 239
  • 16 - The Love That Dare Not Speak Shakespeare's Name 240
  • References 267
  • Index 269
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 279

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.