Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom, 1955. London Film Productions. Textual alterations by David Garrick, Colley Cibber, based on the plays Richard III and Henry VI: Part III by William Shakespeare. Cinematography by Otto Heller. Produced by Laurence Olivier. Music by William Walton. Production Design by Roger K. Furse. Costume Design by John McCorry. Film Editing by Helga Cranston.
Once you get over the silly fake nose and wig that seems to come out of an episode of The Smurfs, you’ll thoroughly enjoy Laurence Olivier‘s full-blooded performance as the title character of Shakespeare’s bloody play. Olivier also directs this excellent production, filmed in gorgeous colour with a fantastic cast that includes Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud. Brother to the King of England, Richard is a deformed, bitter man who decides that he’ll do whatever it takes to get himself on the throne. He stops at nothing, not even at murdering his own family members. Claire Bloom gives an annoyingly breathy performance as Anne, the woman that Richard traps into marriage; perhaps she’s written as a featherbrain on purpose, but take a look at Kristin Scott Thomas’s performance in the tepid 1995 version to see just how much the part could be improved by a more practical approach. Despite its healthy running time, this film is intelligent and exciting.
The Criterion Collection: #213
Academy Award Nomination: Best Actor (Laurence Olivier)
Berlin Film Festival Award: Silver Bear
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best English Language Foreign Film