Henry Bolingbroke has now been crowned King of England, but faces a rebellion headed by the embittered Earl of Northumberland and his son (nicknamed "Hotspur"). Henry's son Hal, the Prince ...
See full summary »
Henry Bolingbroke has now been crowned King of England, but faces a rebellion headed by the embittered Earl of Northumberland and his son (nicknamed "Hotspur"). Henry's son Hal, the Prince ... See full summary »
The first installment of what is widely acknowledged to be Shakespeare's greatest historical saga, Henry IV, Part I is an epic tale of power, treachery and war, exploring the complexity of ... See full summary »
Adam Lee Hamilton
The story begins at a medieval dressing party. A man, dressed as the King Enrico IV, falls from his horse and hits his head. This causes him serious lesions and gets insane, believing he is... See full summary »
When Sir John Falstaff decides that he wants to have a little fun he writes two letters to a pair of Window wives: Mistress Ford and Mistress Page. When they put their heads together and ... See full summary »
David Hugh Jones
Henry VIII is a proud and wilful monarch who defies Rome's ban on divorce to marry his mistress Anne Boleyn. Cardinal Wolsey, the Powerful Lord Chancellor of England, attempts to bend Rome ... See full summary »
When the Duke of Vienna takes a mysterious leave of absence and leaves the strict Angelo in charge, things couldn't be worse for Claudio, who is sentenced to death for premarital sex. His ... See full summary »
Henry Bolingbroke has now been crowned King of England, but faces a rebellion headed by the embittered Earl of Northumberland and his son (nicknamed "Hotspur"). Henry's son Hal, the Prince of Wales, has thrown over life at court in favor of heavy drinking and petty theft in the company of a debauched elderly knight, Sir John Falstaff. Hal must extricate himself from some legal problems, regain his father's good opinions, and help suppress the uprising.
This episode begins with the death of Richard, followed by a brief excerpt from the abdication scene, both from Richard II (1978). Rumour's opening soliloquy is then heard in voice-over, played over scenes from the previous week's Henry IV Part I (1979); Henry's lamentation that he has not been able to visit the Holy Land, and the death of Hotspur at the hands of Prince Hal. See more »
As the saga of Henry IV continues in Part II, we see surprisingly little of the King as played by Jon Finch. The rebels who were not part of the battle that insured his crown in Part I are busy plotting away again to possibly get another insurgency going. And Prince Hal who came to his father's aid and literally saved his life on the battlefield and killed Hotspur in single combat has fallen back on his dissolute ways and conniving with people in low places, chiefly an old braggart Sir John Falstaff.
Henry's got three other sons so the succession for the House of Lancaster is assured, but his oldest Prince Hal as played very winningly by David Gwillim is back doing his drinking and wenching and lowdown behavior as we saw him in Part I. Second eldest son John Of Lancaster seems more fit for the job of king, but it's the future Henry V that is in line. Of such rivalries kingdoms have fallen apart and eventually this one does, but not for another 20 years or so.
Anthony Quayle's Falstaff is seen here as a bit more a shady character than he was in Part I. He's got a few things cooking and he has hopes that when Hal becomes king he will remember his bosom companions of his partying days. What a shock Quayle is in for.
Though he's seen less Jon Finch really comes into his own in the title role. Henry IV is getting older and very conscious of his mortality and worries about his kingdom if his idiot son succeeds. A bit of promise shown in Part I seems to have been overtaken by Hal's desire to party and party. In Finch we see a portrait of a man in physical and mental agony and maybe questioning did I really do the right thing by usurping Richard II. Finch played this character in the three successive plays and we see him grow and change in the role. It's one of the biggest strengths of the BBC Shakespeare series.
This play comes a bit short of the excellence of Richard II and Henry IV Part I, but it's still outstanding theater as presented to us by the BBC.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this