Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
July 2018

It's always fun for me when Shakespeare and history meet, and it's even better when a number of the names in the cast are familiar to me. And when a piece of the history involves a member of my own family, well, that's pretty much the trifecta and you know that I'm really, really going to enjoy watching it. In this particular instance, the play was Shakespeare's last. The history was a shipwreck in the Bermudas that occurred in 1609, an account of which was written up by Sir Thomas Gates, the newly-appointed governor of the Jamestown, Virginia colony, Sir George Sommers, and Captain Newport, all part of the expedition which had been stranded, and published in 1610 under the title A Discovery of the Barmudas [Bermudas], Otherwise Called the Ile of Divels [Isle of Devils]. It is widely believed that Shakespeare based his final play on the account of the storm and shipwreck from that book. And finally, one of the characters in the play is thought to have been based on one of the men in that expedition, Stephen Hopkins, who later sailed with his family on the Mayflower, and who also happens to be my 11th great-grandfather. (No, really! I have the research to prove it.) And who plays the role of Stephano in this version of the play? Nigel Hawthorne, who did such a good turn as Malvolio in the 1996 Twelfth Night (another Shakespeare play involving a shipwreck), as King George III in The Madness of King George, as Sir Humphrey Appleby in the BBC TV series Yes, Prime Minister, as George, Duke of Clarence, in the Ian McKellen Richard III, and in roles in a couple of other movies I have seen and liked a lot, Gandhi and Firefox, among others. So with all that going for it, this month Da'ud Bob reviews for you BBC's 1980 version of William Shakespeare's final play, The Tempest.

Starring Michael Hordern in a change of pace for him as Prospero, David Waller as Alonso, Derek Godfrey as Antonio, Warren Clarke as Caliban, Nigel Hawthorne as Stephano, David Dixon as Ariel, Andrew Sachs as Trinculo, John Nettleton as Gonzalo, Alan Rowe as Sebastian, Pippa Guard as Miranda, Christopher Guard as Ferdinand, and Paul Greenhalgh as Francisco, the basic plot is that a wizard and former Duke of Milan, Prospero, was overthrown by his brother and cast adrift with his books and daughter. They came safely to shore, and now, years later, he has achieved control over a number of spirits (and Caliban) to rule the island. When his brother, with others, sails near his island, he calls up a massive storm which casts them upon his shores, without loss of either life or ship. In the end he frees the spirits who work for him, abjures the further use of magic, and returns home, where his only heir, daughter Miranda, will marry Ferdinand, the heir of the King of Naples, and they will rule over both cities in peace. Or, more succinctly, "Exiled Prospero lives on a desolate island with his daughter, Miranda. When Prospero's usurping brother sails by the island, Prospero conjures a storm that wrecks the ship and changes all of their lives."

Good points: Well, it's Shakespeare! The shields on the rail of the ship's stern castle.

Bad points: The sound is often a bit "scratchy." (Then again, it was made for TV in 1980, and not for surround sound in Hi-Definition!) Why is Ariel golden? All over?

Zero breasts. No blood. No dead bodies. Storm fu. Sword fu. Magic staff fu. The ship rolls. Spirits roll. Plots and sub-plots roll. Ariel disappears. A lot. On screen. (1980-level special effects.) Gratuitous G-strings. (Ariel and the other spirits.) Gratuitous hair. (Caliban. All over.) Gratuitous songs. It's nice to see Michael Hordern playing something other than "befuddled characters, particularly stuffy public officials." (For an example of the former, see his wonderful interpretation of Baptista in the Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton The Taming of the Shrew.) A mere 28 on the Vomit Meter. Two stars. Da'ud Bob says, "Check it out!"

Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!

Robin Hood

Opens November 21, 2018 (delayed from September)

"Robin of Loxley, a war-hardened Crusader, and his Moorish commander mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, mind-blowing fight choreography, and a timeless romance." Starring Taron Egerton in the title role, with Jamie Dornan, Paul Anderson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jamie Foxx as Little John, Eve Hewson, and Tim Minchin as Friar Tuck.

Yet another movie that I don't think needed to be remade (again and again and again!).


Mary Queen of Scots

December 7, 2018 in limited release

Mary Stuart's attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution. Starring Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I, Saoirse Ronan in the title role, and David Tennant (as John Knox).

Oh, look! Another remake!

No official website yet.

The Kid Who Would Be King

Now March 1, 2019 (that's at least two delays that I know of)

"A band of kids embark on an epic quest to thwart a medieval menace." Starring Rebecca Ferguson, Patrick Stewart as Merlin, Tom Taylor.

No official website yet.

The Name of the Rose


"A monk investigates a series of mysterious deaths at an abbey. Television adaptation (eight episodes) of Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose." John Turturro in the Sean Connery role, Michael Emerson, Rupert Everett, Damian Hardung, Claudio Bigagli.

Really? Yet another remake? Can no one write any original scripts anymore?

No official website yet.

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