Antony and Cleopatra (1974) (TV)

Directed by Trevor Nunn and Jon Scoffiel

Starring Richard Johnson as Antony, Janet Suzman as Cleopatra and Patrick Stewart as Antony's crafty aide Enobarbus




Good acting in television version of the Shakespeare play Good acting in this version; however, as befits a lower-budget television version, the sets are awful. This makes it harder for the actors to convince the viewers that they are indeed watching a story taking place in Rome or Egypt. Thankfully the actors are able to overcome this obstacle in most scenes. Patrick Stewart shines as Enobarbus. He really communicates the strong friendship between him and Antony, and how troubling it is to leave foolish Antony for Caesar's army. I had to blink twice after seeing the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air butler Geoffrey (Joseph Marcell) in a small role. Janet Suzman plays the role of Cleopatra well. Suzman isn't as beautiful as one might expect for an actress portraying Cleopatra, but she exhibits the powerful sensuality that surrounds the character.

Quoted from IMDB


A fine production, but flawed, February 18, 2001

Reviewer: Himadri Chatterjee from London, United Kingdom

Shakespeare's plays are essentially theatrical, and difficult to bring off on screen. This production succeeds admirably in many respects. It doesn't go for visual spectacle: quite apart from anything else, it couldn't hope to compare on that score with the Hollywood Burton/Taylor extravaganza. Instead, with a minimum of props or sets, it focuses on the actors' faces, and on the verse. And when Patrick Stewart, as Enobarbus, describes Cleopatra's first meeting with Antony ("the barge she sat in, like a burnished throne..")the viewer's mind may conjure up for itself spectacles far more impressive than anything Hollywood has to offer. Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra are both middle-aged, looking back on past glories and haunted with the awareness of failing powers. They are among Shakespeare's greatest creations, and Johnson and Suzman capture superbly their complexities. Corin Redgrave's Octavius, however, is more controversial. Certainly, Octavius is a calculating politician: but should he really be so ice cold, and devoid of emotion? This presentation seriously unbalances the play. The wonderful scene where he expresses grief on hearing of Antony's death here passes for nothing, for we simply cannot believe that Octavius - as presented here - is capable of feeling anything at all. The other problem with this production is the text: most Shakespeare plays can stand a bit of judicious cutting, but the cuts here are so extensive, that the text is effectively mangled. Would another forty minutes or so really have over-taxed the viewer's attention span?

Quoted from Amazon Customer Reviews