"Play of the Week" Waiting for Godot (TV Episode 1961) Poster

(TV Series)

(1961)

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10/10
Made me both comprehend and gain awe for Waiting for Godot
wakoface29 December 2008
I first encountered this play to learn more concerning Theater of the Absurd of which the author of Waiting For Godot, Samuel Beckett is considered a founder. While I felt I grasped some of the despair and black humor of this theater I honestly could not bring myself to enjoy and hardly finished the play on reading.

I happened upon this version when browsing my college library and decided to watch it in segments. I found myself slowly but utterly drawn into the reality presented and bizarrely concerned for the tramps as they blunder around and never leave their ugly space. Both Burgess Meredith and Zero Mostel are marvelous as they completely sell their story but never take themselves too seriously. I never thought I'd see Zero Mostel outdone in a theatrical piece but I think this is one example. The scenes with Pozzo and Lucky still don't appeal to me but perhaps they will make more sense after a second or third watching. I would have no problem watching it many more times despite the bleakness and inaction of Beckett's style. The glorious acting and truth shine through better than I imaged they ever would.
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10/10
Two of the best acting jobs I have ever seen.
LDomkowski-128 May 2005
Zero Mostel and Burgess Meredith deliver two of the finest acting jobs I have ever seen as Estregon and Vladimir, two lonely souls passing time while waiting for an important, albeit unknown, visitor. These veteran actors apply their craft with such a powerful and professional finesse that it makes this version of Becket's masterpiece a delightful lesson for the serious practitioner of the dramatic arts.

Make no mistake, this is not a MOVIE but the original Becket play filmed for television yet remaining true to Becket's vision. This version contains no special effects and little in sets save what Becket describes for his original dramatic work. What makes this version come alive, besides the glorious script itself, are the wonderful performances of these two great actors.
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5/10
Not the least, not the best
ferdinand193231 May 2013
The first thing to say about this production is that it is not the full play. It has been cut by about 40 minutes and the repetitious interplay in Act 1 between Vladimir and Estragon has been cut as have the sections that deal with bodily functions and male organs.

Nevertheless it has good elements, in the actors in particular. Physically Meredith is, or was, too short for his role, but never mind. Mostel over does it a bit, but that was Mostel.

The direction is a little irksome and not ideal for Beckett on stage which really wants for a full frame stage, not the TV close up and not the moving camera but those parts of film grammar are normal and the so-called stage-bound qualities may bore viewers.

Lucky's monologue is very athletic and the most important speech in the play given by Pozzo, "When, When, When, why do you poison me with this story of time?" is over all too quickly.

Over 50 years later we can see the whole play and uncensored, so we can look at this version as staging post on the wider introduction to Beckett.
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Peetr and Judas meet Lucifer while waiting for Jesus to return to Earth
rudy-303 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I first read this play in high school. I didn't understand it very well. I then listened to an original cast recording featuring E.G. Marshall, Bert Lahr, and Kurt Kasznar. I purchased a copy of this production and now I think I understand it. Estragon, played by Zero Mostel is obsessed with a tree and hanging. I think he is a metaphor for Judas. Vladimir, played by Burgess Meredith is Peter. I say this because Vladimir has met Godot but forgets what he looks like. Peetr denied knowing Jesus. While they are talking, they encounter Pozzo (Kurt Kasznar) who mentions that they are on his property. I think Pozzo is Lucifer, because he dpesn't care if they stay on his land or not. Also, he beats Lucky, a human treated as a horse. Supposedly, Lucifer beats the sinners although here in a sense of black humor, the unfortunate man is called Lucky. Alvin Epstein's speech is too garbled for me. Maybe it is a bad copy, but the others speak clearly. Jack Gilford makes such a brief appearance that I am surprised to see him credited. There is an old Jewish story about the Messiah telling a rabbi that he will appear tomorrow. The same theme runs through this play. A boy arrives to announce each day that Godot will show up tomorrow. The physical humor between Meredith and Mostel is hilarious. They partially imitate Laurel and Hardy, but in a subtle manner.
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8/10
Two of the original cast members of the original stage performance are in this production
Caradoc-39 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Two of the actors in this television production were in the original American production of "Waiting For Godot." They were Kurt Kaszner(Pozzo) and, (the then unknown)Alvin Epstein, who bowled audiences over with his sensational performance as Lucky. Most Americans had never seen a Beckett play before and had no idea of what to expect. There was a considerable uproar. In the two leading roles, there were the veterans E.G.Marshall(Vladimir/Didi) and the beloved clown, Bert Lahr(most of us recall him as the cowardly lion in "The Wizard of Oz.")But Lahr, who had come out of burlesque was one of the savviest comic actors on the Broadway stage. It was a stroke of genius to cast him in this most cerebral(highbrow)drama as Estragon(usually called Gogo in that production.)Lahr intuitively grasped the meaning of his role. After all,it was a clown--and Lahr was a superb clown. The best of the New York daily reviewers, Walter Kerr,panned the play. But this was understandable: Kerr always bridled at any play in which nothing much happened except talk. Here was a play in which nothing at all happened, except talk. By the time this television production was mounted, the dust had settled, and the bulk of the audience could accept the play.
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Is there some archive of this?
Hot Thom8 November 2005
This must be amazing. Burgess Meredith and Zero Mostel playing Vladimir and Estragon... I can only imagine how good this is.

My brother saw this play off-Broadway with Christopher Lloyd and Tony Shaloub in the main roles, which I really would like to have seen.

This play is truly the best of Samuel Beckett's works, with the possible exception of Krapp's last tape.

There is also a film of Beckett's called, "Film" starring Buster Keaton, which must be astounding.

I wonder if there is a way to find these lost gems?

Does it make a difference is Beckett is done on screen versus on stage?

Why must this comment be ten lines long?

It seems rather pointless and fascist, but only in the way that I interpret it.

Can anything be done?

She has gone and done it again.

Won't somebody tell her?
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