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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Stage > Literature > Film > Shakespeare's Women & Claire Bloom

Shakespeare’s Women & Claire Bloom


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Main Program: B-



Claire Bloom is a great actress, a survivor over several decades of film, TV and stage work.  When she appeared in Laurence Olivier’s big VistaVision film production of Richard III in 1955, it was and remains a key Shakespeare film, a transition between the older and newer ways of making a film based on The Bard’s work.  Bloom was already a veteran of such work at the time, so who better to examine women in his work than she?  Shakespeare’s Women & Claire Bloom (1998) is a fine, smart, though too short examination of the roles she played, which happens to be most of the key roles in all of The Bard’s output.


Bloom even takes a big risk by recreating the certain performances off the cuff, on the fly, and in a way that since this is taped, first looks like a Saturday Night Live skit.  However, she’s so damned good, those who might be ready to laugh through an automatic, conditioned reaction (for those who have watched enough comedy TV) will soon find that his is probably one of the most underrated actresses of her generation.  I was amazed.  Though I always liked Bloom, her talent and love for Shakespeare does what she intended it to do here: get more people interested in the work.  Though the program runs under an hour, it offers a ton of great moments, history and grasp of the art of acting and writing.  Without trying, this tribute to Shakespeare becomes a terrific look at one of the great actresses of the 20th Century.


The 1.33 X 1 image was shot on professional NTSC analog videotape and looks good for its age.  It also includes stills of her past work.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is simple stereo at best and has no surrounds whatsoever.  Playback is just fine for such a program.  Extras are few, but include trailers for other First Run titles, as well as text biography and filmography works of Bloom.  That makes it a solid documentary/special interest title worth your time.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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