British Universities Film & Video Council

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Merchant of Venice

Synopsis
Televised adaptation of the play in which the mise en scene was inspired by Italian Renaissance art, a practice which subsequently distinguished director Cedric Messina’s productions for the BBC Television Shakespeare series. Frank Finlay is Shylock and Maggie Smith, Portia.
Series
Play of the Month
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Medium
Television
Technical information
Colour / Sound
Transmission details
16 Apr 1972 at 20:15 (Channel: BBC1)
Duration
130 mins

Credits

Director
Cedric Messina
Producer
Gerald Savory
Writer
William Shakespeare
Music
Anthony Rooley; James Tyler
Costume
Juanita Waterson
Art Direction
Tony Abbott
Cast
Frank FinlayShylock
Charles GrayAntonio
Christopher GableBassanio
Maggie SmithPortia
Malcolm StoddardGratiano
Alan TuckerStephano
Ania MarsonJessica
Bunny MayLauncelot Gobbo
Charles LenoTubal
Clive GrahamSalerio
David SpenserPrince of Morocco
Edward PetherbridgeLorenzo
John HugLeonardo
John MoffattPrince of Arragon
Ken ParryOld Gobbo
Martin HillSoloist
Nerys HughesNerissa
Richard MorantSolanio
Robert HarrisDuke of Venice
Rolf LefebvreBalthazar

Additional Details

Production type
Television and Radio Drama
Historical period
Renaissance Italy
Plays
Merchant of Venice, The
Subjects
Drama
Keywords
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)

Notes

Notes
Radio Times programme notes suggest that "the Venice of Titian and the Velmont of Botticelli" inspired the costume and set design for this production.

The production is also available from retailers as part of the MAGGIE SMITH AT THE BBC collection released 2008.
History
This broadcast forms part of a series of eight Shakespeareare plays produced for BBC by Cedric Messina, who was to launch the production of the BBC TV Shakespeare series three years later.
Stills
A still of the production showing Maggie Smith as Portia is reproduced in Radio Times, 13 December 1975, p.17.
Reviews
Radio Times, 16 April 1972, pp. 56-58.
On the change in perception of the character of Shylock from farcical scapegoat to a tragic figure cf. Rothwell, Kenneth S. and Annabelle Henkin Melzer, Shakespeare on Screen: An International Filmography and Videography (London: Mansell, 1990), entry 396, p. 181.

Production Company

Name

BBC

Notes
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Archive

Name

BFI National Archive

Web
http://www.bfi.org.uk/archive-collections/searching-access-collections/research-viewing-services External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7255 1444
Fax
020 7436 0165
Address
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN

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