King Lear (1983 TV drama)

King Lear (1983 TV Drama)

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King Lear (1983 TV drama)

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King Lear is a 1983 video production that was directed by Michael Elliott. It is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's play of the same name. It was shown on British television in 1983 and in the U.S. in 1984.

Elliott set his Lear in a Stonehenge-like environment, although no location filming was used. The somewhat out-of-focus effect that one sees at certain moments is because mist pervades the setting in several scenes.

The American telecast of it, however, featured a filmed introduction shot at the real Stonehenge, with Peter Ustinov acting as host. (Ustinov was host for all the Mobil Showcase Theatre presentations, of which the Olivier King Lear was one.)

Laurence Olivier played Lear in this production to great acclaim, winning an Emmy for his performance. It was the last of Olivier's appearances in a Shakespeare play. At 75, he was one of the oldest actors to take on this enormously demanding role. (He had previously played it in 1946 at the Old Vic, without much success.)

A notable cast was assembled for this production, including, in addition to Olivier, John Hurt, Diana Rigg, Leo McKern, Dorothy Tutin, Anna Calder-Marshall, and Colin Blakely. It was telecast in syndication in the United States, and is available on DVD.

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