21 January 2007 | standardmetal
This TV production is highly abridged but gives a good idea of the play. The actors come from every part of the acting spectrum from the Shakespearian actor Maurice Evans and the Welsh actor and Elizabeth Taylor husband (twice) Richard Burton to the comedian Tom Poston.
It strikes me that, though Mr. Evans perhaps had a more musical sense of the lines than Michael Hordern in another production I reviewed, the results of loving your voice too much approaches bombast. I could easily imagine a much more introverted approach in character with a man like Prospero who was a private practitioner of the magical arts not a public one. (Especially in a film or video production where projection is not so important.)
In short, a very old-fashioned oratorical approach which this video preserves well.
In keeping with a 1960 version of the play, Roddy McDowell who plays Ariel is, like David Dixon in the other version, not overdressed but he wears briefs and not a thong like Mr. Dixon. He seems to me much more comfortable in the part and reads his lines more convincingly.
All the more reason I wonder why Tom Poston as Trinculo was encouraged to camp it up (with a lisp in his case.) and this is true of some of the other characters as well.
Lee Remick was fine as Miranda but I thought Pippa Guard was even better in the other version. And William Bassett in briefs and a sort of Roman top for some reason was perhaps overly "manly" and here also I preferred Christopher Guard, who was more poetic, in the other version. Richard Burton as Caliban was fine as well.
The "masque" towards the end with Juno, Ceres etc. was cut to shreds but Lehman Engel's music was more than adequate. The sets were also quite serviceable.
Perhaps I might add a paragraph or two concerning the part of Ariel and the "girlie-man" comment by another reviewer: This is not off the mark since Ariel is supposed to be sexually neutral. In Shakespeare's day, he would have undoubtedly been played by one of the boy actors who also did the women's parts.
More recently, it has been done by adult male actors who are sexually ambivalent to some extent, at least in appearance. (Roddy McDowell was certainly a gay man but I really don't know anything about David Dixon in the other version I reviewed.) The part has also commonly been played by women.