Made on location in what looks like a perilously cold Denmark, Brook's only Shakespeare on celluloid found a similarly frosty reception, especially as it came out just after Kozintsev's grandly conceived Russian version. Brook's filming is graceless - looming close-ups, perverse camera moves - but there are some remarkable performances (developed from his much praised stage production a few years before with Scofield). The conception is consistent with the influential views of Jan Kott, who saw Lear as a precursor to Beckett's plays about human blindness and nothingness (a line reinforced by the casting of MacGowran as the Fool, and Magee as the Duke of Cornwall). A bleak interpretation, in every sense.
Cast and crew
Robert Langdon Lloyd