British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Richard III [2-Dvd Special Edition]

Synopsis
Feature film version of the play. ‘Building on Olivier’s extraordinary stage creation, the film asks less what the cinema can do for the theatre (as with HENRY V and HAMLET) than what the theatre can give to the cinema. It is boldly and often exhilaratingly theatrical’.
(McKernan, Luke & Olwen Terris, Walking Shadows: Shakespeare in the National Film & Television Archive (London: BFI, 1994), p. 138.
Series
Criterion Collection
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Medium
Film
Technical information
Colour / Sound
Year of release
2013
Duration
157 mins; 5,649 feet

Credits

Cinematographer
Otto Heller
Music
William Walton
Costume
Carmen Dillon
Art Direction
Roger Furse
Contributor
Alan Dent
Cast
Helen HayesDuchess of York
Alec ClunesHastings
Andrew CruickshankSir Robert Brackenbury
Clive MortonLord Rivers
Douglas WilmerMarquis of Dorset
John LaurieLord Lovell
Laurence NaismithStanley, Earl of Derby
Michael GoughMurderer
Norman WoolandSir William Catesby
Pamela BrownJane Shore
Patrick TroughtonSir James Tyrrel
Russell ThorndikeChristopher Unswick, a Priest
Stanley BakerEarl of Richmond

Additional Details

Production type
Fiction Films
Historical period
Medieval
Plays
Richard III
Subjects
Drama
Keywords
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)
Related items
Music of Lennon and McCartney, The [16/12/1965]

Notes

Notes
New high-definition digital transfer and new digital master of The Film Foundation’s 2012 4K restoration. DVD and Blu-ray, Special features: Disc 1: Commentary (featuring playwright and stage director Russell Lees and John Wilders, former governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company). Disc 2: Great Acting : Laurence Olivier (interview with actor Laurence Olivier from a 1966 episode of Great Acting, by theatre critic Kenneth Tynan); Restoration demonstration (hosted by Martin Scorsese); Production gallery (behind-the-scenes and production stills and posters); TV trailer (twelve-minute television trailer featuring footage of Olivier and other cast); Theatrical trailer. Booklet featuring an essay by film critic Amy Taubin.
General
A signed shooting script (dated 19 July 1954) is available to researchers at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The script includes instructions for film editors, diagram of the sets depicting changes made during production, a 2-page ALS (autograph letter signed) from Laurence Olivier to (presumably) the editors. Text has many underlinings and manuscript notes (some by William Walton) regarding music for the production.

The film’s chief sponsor on its American television premiere was General Motors. There were apparently three commercial breaks including one which said that a certain car had more power than all the horses in Richard III.
History
On 11 March 1956, the same day as its theatrical release in the US, the film was transmitted on television in 45 states. The television screening had a predictably adverse affect on box office receipts.
Awards
Academy Award 1957 Nomination - Best Actor in Leading Role (Olivier)
BAFTA Film Award 1956 - Best British Actor (Olivier), Best British Film
Reviews
Constance Brown ‘Olivier’s Richard III: a Re-evaluation’, Film Quarterly 20, no. 4 pp23-32 (reprinted in Eckert, Focus on Shakespearean Films, pp131-45].

Sections

Title
Trial of Richard III, The
Synopsis
The trial of Richard III, who was accused of murdering the princes in the Tower. The trial takes place in a reconstructed Old Bailey courtroom with the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Elwyn Jones, as Judge. Two eminent QCs, appearing under assumed names, present the case for and against the murder charges. Leading historians and scientists give evidence. Recreates a modern-day murder trial and is a study of English law.
Duration
225 mins

Production Company

Name

London Film Productions

Distributor (Sale)

Name

Retail outlets

Record Stats

This record has been viewed 643 times.