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Richard's military skills have helped to put his older brother Edward on the throne of England. But jealousy and resentment cause Richard to seek the crown for himself, and he conceives a lengthy and carefully calculated plan using deception, manipulation, and outright murder to achieve his goal. His plotting soon has tumultuous consequences, both for himself and for England.Written by
Esmond Knight (Ratcliffe) wanted to make his appearance at Richard III's tent (at dawn during the Battle of Bosworth) longer by "loosening his sword in the scabbard, then look over the shoulder through the flap in the tent towards the horses, and then say it." However, Sir Laurence Olivier refused his request and told him to "Play straight and piss off!" See more »
In the scene when Richard tells King Edward of Clarence's supposed treason, two monks are singing hymns from a large book: their lips are not only out of sync with their singing, but with each other. See more »
Most of the film's credits are shown at the end. The opening credits show only the title of the film, Shakespeare's name, and the names of the main actors. See more »
SPOILER: The 139-minute version omits the entire second half of Clarence's (John Gielgud) speech in the prison cell. The 139-minute version is also edited so that it appears to a viewer unfamiliar with either the play or the film that Richard had nothing to do with Edward IV's death. See more »
Bear Him My Head. They Smile At Me Who Shortly Shall Be Dead
Personally, I think this is Shakespeare's most entertaining work. The evil but brilliant Richard has got to be a favorite for any actor. License to really go nuts and just be pure villain. Olivier's interpretation dwells on the cerebral side, and as usual for him, lends little or no mirth to the subject. I always think Shakespeare is best played when the humor which is present in all of his tales, is shone in full light. Olivier must have disagreed. But I do like this interpretation, and it probably still stands as the best film version as such. It was carefully produced to attract all audiences, not just fans of the Bard. Olivier jukes up the dialogue, curiously interchanging verses out of order for cinematic effect I suppose. He also pedantically pounds home and over-dramatizes the key plot points. As if to say, 'Pay attention dopes, this part is critical!' But he omits nothing, and the surrounding cast is simply phenomenal. Its a celebration of 50s color photography and looks like only films from that era do. The tale of Richard III however truthful Shakespeare was in relating it, represents a crucial period in British history. The War of The Roses is finally ended and the modern dynasty from which the Royal family of Britain today is directly descended, is established in Richmond's victory at Bosworth.
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