I’m going to do here what I did for Henry IV Parts 1 & 2. Stick up a few snapshots captured from the film, and add a few cursory comments.
Here is Trevor Peacock as Talbot about to shuffle off his mortal coil (with his dead son sprawled across him) doing his ‘Antic death’ speech. (What is meant by ‘antic death’? I must look it up)
He looks comical when you see him goggle-eyed like that. And actually there is quite a lot of dying and deading going on throughout this play. It can get too feel farcical, and kind of pointless, which is probably the whole point.
Here is Bernard Hill in a wig as Duke of York and Brenda Blethyn as Joan of Arc.
Brenda Blethyn does Joan of Arc in a pantomime Northern accent. Some critics have taken objection to it. I’ve heard worse. But Brenda Blethyn and Jon of Arc don’t go together in my mind. I’ve seen her in too many Mike Leigh films playing pathetic doormats (“OK there sweedhard?”) to be convinced she could be an heroic leader and slaughter of Men.
Here is somebody else who is hopelessly miscast
Not the actor in close up (don’t remember his name) but her behind: the ‘gorgeous beauty’, Julia Foster
As you can see, she’s neither ‘gorgeous’, or a ‘beauty’. I remember Julia Foster being in Alfie as one of Michael Caines pathetic ‘birds’. She did all his cooking and ironing. And then he dumped her. Probably because, like me, he never saw her as a gorgeous beauty. It might be she comes more into her own as the conniving Queen Margaret (in Parts 2 & 3, and Richard III)
That’s about all I want to say. Don’t know if I’ll do more snapshotty posts of Henry VI parts 2 and 3. Don’t even know if I’m going to bother to watch them.
All of these Henry’s are a bit ‘blah’. Although I suppose I’ll have to watch and review Henry V at some point.
That’s how watching these Shakespeare BBC productions is getting to feel: not excited anticipation but a sense of weary obligation that I’ve got to see yet another one. Maybe I should just delete the whole lot of them. Erase them from my hard drive (and memory)
Dir: Jane Howell