Shakespeare's women are lovingly illuminated by a woman, Claire Bloom, who has played many of his heroines on the stage and the screen. The Bard "knew everything about everybody," says the actress, who is so familiar with the characters it's as if she's just taken tea with them. The production interweaves film clips, such as Bloom playing Lady Anne to Laurence Olivier's Richard III in the 1955 film, with soliloquies Bloom performs for the camera. (Bloom has spent much time in recent years performing a one-woman stage show on Shakespeare's women.) Brought to life are Juliet, Ophelia from Hamlet
, Portia from The Merchant of Venice
, Rosalind from As You Like It
, and a handful of other roles. Surprises also pop up, such as John Barrymore's 1935 screen test for Hamlet. It's an excellent primer on some of Shakespeare's works and a splendid scrapbook of film and play interpretations of his works over much of the past century. --Valerie J. Nelson
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.