Shakespeare Wallah (1965)

JAMES IVORY

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB

USA, 1965.  .  Screenplay by , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by National Board Of Review Awards 1966.  

A troupe of English actors, led by a mother, father and daughter (played by real-life family , and ) travel through India performing classic Shakespeare plays for gradually dwindling audiences. Their popularity has waned so much in recent years that they have begun to consider the possibility of packing up and returning to England, a country that they haven’t been to since before their daughter was born. Complicating matters is a romance between the young lady and a rich Indian playboy (, in real life Felicity’s brother-in-law) and the jealousy of his Bombay movie queen cousin (a rich performance by ).  Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s intelligent screenplay uses the rejection of the troupe as a reflection of India’s burgeoning independence from colonial British influence, and James Ivory directs with class and gets terrific performances from everyone involved.

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