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    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    Movie Review - The Merchant of Venice

    This was supposed to go up last week, but I got distracted by Publicola about 30 minutes into it, so I had to start over.

    Anyway, we are all so fortunate to have the Bard's works available to us at our whim. Unlike Elizabethan England, we don't have to stuff ourselves into ill-fitting corsets and mingle with the unwashed masses to get our entertainment fix.

    I don't recall reading The Merchant of Venice in school. Apparently, next to Romeo and Juliet, this just didn't regard enough interest from the literary department. Ah, well, I guess we can't all be Henry V.

    As far as the movie itself, I was pleasantly entertained for over two hours. It was a trifle slow in places, but picked up speed before I got too bored. I must say that Al Pacino makes a great Shylock. And I will always love Joseph Fiennes in anything Shakespearen. Anything.

    And I just love the 'test of chests' that Portia requires of her potential suitors. Since I'm single, I'm thinking, Nevermind. That would cause all kinds of sillyness.

    So, the plot: Moneylending, romance, racism, greed, treachery, crossdressing, and of course the costumes are amazing! And not a single one of the main characters dies!? Pretty much everyone lives happily ever after. Except Shylock.

    He works himself all up into a lather about a payment owed to him by Antonio (played by Jeremy Irons) and demands 'a pound of flesh.' Bet you've always wanted to know where that saying came from, eh?

    At one point, Shylock is offered double his return on the loan, but apparently it's the principle of the thing. The courtroom scene is fabulous, with Antonio looking about as sick as I ever did see anyone who knew he was about to butchered. Shylock, sharpening his blade, is stubbornly refusing to hear pleas for mercy. He wants his pound of flesh, for vengeance, for his wounded pride. It's amazing what men will do to keep their pride propped up.

    The gamut of emotions that Al Pacino runs just in that one scene is worth watching the whole movie.

    Did I mention the costumes? I should do that again. Costumes!! Sigh...I really need to get some sewing done.

    I'm going to go play with my Magnetic Poetry Shakespeare Edition now. Forsooth!

    1 comment:

    1. I find Jeremy Irons to be completely disturbing. He is a good actor but chooses these very disturbing movies to act in. There was a French one he did(forget the name) where he had an affair with his son's fiance. The son found out and died. Everytime I see him I think of that. Really make me not want to bring any girls home to meet the parents.


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