Watch BBC Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice
- 2 hr 36 min
BBC Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice is a 1980 film adaptation of the play of William Shakespeare, directed by Jack Gold. This film captures the intricacies of the plot, revolving around a merchant named Antonio (John Franklyn-Robbins) who borrows money from a Jewish moneylender named Shylock (Alan David), and the dramatic events that follow after Antonio is unable to repay the debt on time.
John Rhys-Davies plays the character of Bassanio, a friend of Antonio who is in love with a wealthy heiress named Portia. In order to impress her and gain her hand in marriage, Bassanio borrows money from Antonio and enlists the help of the cunning Portia to win a risky bet against a group of her suitors. Meanwhile, Shylock is seeking revenge against Antonio for his previous mistreatment and intends to collect a pound of his flesh as payment for the debt.
The film is set in the Venetian Republic during the 16th century and adheres closely to Shakespeare's text, bringing its eloquent language and timeless themes to life. The characters are complex and are portrayed with great skill by the cast, particularly Alan David who delivers a powerful performance as Shylock.
The cinematography is impressive, utilizing various locations such as Venice and Belmont to add to the authenticity of the film. The costumes and set design are also noteworthy, capturing the richness of the era.
One of the main themes of the play is the concept of justice, and this is highlighted in the film through the character of Shylock. The audience is forced to question their own morality and beliefs as they are presented with the complexities of Shylock's character. Is he a victim of discrimination and prejudice, or is he a cruel and vindictive character seeking revenge?
The relationship between Antonio and Bassanio is also examined, and the film presents an often ambiguous portrayal of their friendship. Is Antonio's willingness to go to such lengths to help Bassanio out of genuine friendship or is there another underlying motive?
Overall, BBC Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice is a powerful and thought-provoking adaptation of Shakespeare's classic play. The film explores themes that are still relevant in today's society, such as prejudice and the search for justice. The cast delivers excellent performances, bringing the characters to life with authenticity and depth. The film is a must-see for any fans of Shakespeare, and for those who are new to his works, it serves as a great introduction to his genius.
BBC Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice is a 1980 history movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 36 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.