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    About This Item

    Unique ID Code: 0000002923
    Added by: DVD Reviewer
    Added on: 12/1/2000 18:41
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    Shakespeare In Love (UK)

    7 / 10
    5 votes cast
    Rate this item
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    A comedy about the greatest love story almost never told
    Certificate: 15
    Running Time: 119 mins
    Retail Price: £19.99
    Release Date:

    Shakespeare In Love is a romantic comedy for the 1990s set in the 1590s, telling the witty, sexy story behind the creation of the greatest love story of them all - Romeo and Juliet. Young Will Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is the up and coming playwright of the time but has been disastrously struck by the bane of writer`s block. His comedy "Romeo and Ethel the Pirate`s Daughter" is not going anywhere and the playhouse is under threat of closure. What Will needs is a muse - and she appears in the form of the beautiful (and betrothed) Lady Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow).

    The path of true love doesn`t run smooth for Will, however - Viola is engaged to be married to the insufferable Lord Wessex (Colin Firth) at the command of Queen Elizabeth (Judi Dench). The joys and tragedy of his own life find their way onto the page in a moving, witty and spellbinding tale.

    Shakespeare In Love is a brilliantly funny, warm and fast moving romance from acclaimed director John Madden (Mrs Brown).

    Special Features:
    Interactive Menus
    Scene Access
    Making Of Documentary: "Shakespeare In Love And On Film"
    John Madden Commentary
    Cast and Crew Commentary
    Theatrical Trailer
    21 TV Spots
    Academy Award winning Costumes
    Deleted Scenes

    Video Tracks:
    Widescreen Letterbox 2.35:1

    Audio Tracks:
    Dolby Digital 5.1 English
    Dolby Digital Surround 2.0 German

    Subtitle Tracks:

    Directed By:
    John Madden

    Written By:

    Imelda Staunton
    Judi Dench
    Martin Clunes
    Gwyneth Paltrow
    Simon Callow
    Joseph Fiennes

    Casting By:
    Michelle Guish

    Soundtrack By:
    Stephen Warbeck

    Director of Photography:
    Richard Greatrex

    David Gamble

    Costume Designer:
    Sandy Powell
    Humberto Cornejo

    Production Designer:
    Martin Childs

    Harvey Weinstein
    David Parfitt
    Mark Cooper
    Edward Zwick
    Marc Norman
    Donna Gigliotti
    Linda Bruce

    Executive Producer:
    Julie Goldstein
    Bob Weinstein

    Miramax Films

    Your Opinions and Comments

    9 / 10
    The premise of Shakespeare in Love -- that Shakespeare, prior to becoming famous, had a fling with an extremely rich, thorougly engaged, and inadequately chaperoned virgin -- was not particularly promising. But a sparkling script, polished up by Tom Stoppard from the original by Marc Norman, and sound direction from John Madden (the director of Mrs. Brown) took this film out of the realms of the ordinary.

    It won a gaggle of Oscars, including Best Picture, and Best Actress for Gwyneth Paltrow, and it`s now, inevitably, available on DVD. In some ways, a smaller-scale film like this is better suited to home viewing than effects-reliant blockbusters. The film aims to make the audience feel part of Elizabethan theatre, not least by packing the script with anachronisms, references to all manner of Shakespeare lines, and theatrical and other in-jokes.

    The chief conceit of the script is that the plot is progressed as if we were watching one of Shakespeare`s plays. So we have high tragedy and low comedy, cross-dressing, poetry, romance, sword-fights, bawdyness of all varieties, and an ending which is most easily described as regina ex machina.

    Movies often refer to a distinguished cast, but this one really is; there`s a large cast of nicely-wrought characters, mostly played by leading lights of UK stage and screen who were attracted by the script and Madden`s reputation. Particularly notable is Dame Judi Dench as Elizabeth; she appears to be stitching up the market in sour old Queens. Can the biopic of QEII be far behind? Star quality comes from Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes as Shakespeare, and remarkably decorative cameos from Ben Affleck and Rupert Everett.

    I couldn`t fault the picture or sound on DVD, though I don`t claim to be an expert. Extras include two commentary tracks - a fascinating one from John Madden, pointing out lots of jokes I`d missed, and a more prosaic one from the cast and crew. There`s also a making of documentary, a short about the costumes, dozens of different 30-second TV ads for the film, and several deleted scenes. All add value, but the main reason to get this DVD is because it`s a terrific film.
    posted by Alison Scott on 14/2/2000 18:31
    7 / 10
    I know this review would be a minority.
    I was disappointed by this movie. It made me yawn so many times I stopped counting. Sure, it was nice, funny at times, but then again - so predictable.
    I think this is the only title I`ve ever watched during its commentary I fell asleep. Literally.
    Well, there is a good thing about the movie - the video.
    The video transfer is great. You really get the feeling you are marching the streets and alleys of that time. The costumes are also very nice. The hues are a bit desaturated, but I think it was intentional.
    The audio is nothing special. I mean, it`s good, but nothing more. The dialog is always centered and there`s almost no usage of the surrounds (well, maybe Shakespeare didn`t have an Dolby Digital decoder). ;)
    Bottom line? Chances are you`ll like this movie. I, however, didn`t. Sorry. :)
    posted by Zvi Josef on 21/7/2000 07:33
    8 / 10
    I was dragged kicking and screaming to see this film at the cinema, and to my surprise actually rather enjoyed it. So when the DVD came up on the cheap I snapped it up… so there is stayed in my collection, unwatched for a good couple of months, until now.

    And what a great disc this is - OK it's not redefining the state of DVD releases or anything, but it's still got a lot to offer. In particular, there are a number of rather good special features. The deleted scenes were a little disappointing - usually slightly different takes on scenes that were in the film, rather than entirely new scenes. There are 2 commentaries - one from the cast and crew, and the other from John Madden the director which points out all the jokes I missed. The making of documentary is interesting although it has been Americanised. And we are also blessed with the trailer and a whole load of TV spots, 21 to be exact.

    There are also an almost equal number of cameos. The main cast consist of Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Colin Firth and Ben Affleck - all of whom are excellent. But then there (almost) hundreds of other 'names' that show up (some more often than others) - Judi Dench, Simon Callow, Martin Clunes, Imelda Staunton, and Geoffrey Rush show up with some consistency. But then you also get Tom Wilkinson, Rupert Everett, oh, and two of the blokes from the Fast Show (Simon Day and Mark Williams).

    Even if you don't think you'd like this sort of thing, it's worth hiring just to see, because it's very very amusing. And if you like the film, the disc will not leave you disappointed.
    posted by Rich Davies on 12/9/2002 07:56
    8 / 10
    Shakespeare... the skurge of the school days.
    "Listen class, this term we`re going to read a Shakespeare comedy."
    I don`t know about you, but either humour has changed, or he`s just not funny.

    However that was then, and now I`ve seen at least 3 Shakespeare plays, so I`m something of an intellectual, not to say an expert on the subject.

    Even so its hard to shake off that faint sense of horror that the word Shakespeare still has associated with it from those heady school days. So with some trepidation do we turn on the DVD player. Luckily no 20 page essays will be required to be handed in by Monday, so we can at least relax.

    Shakespeare in Love comes from an interesting take on the subject. Tom Stoppard admits to finding it difficult to work out a story line, until he thought about the problems of an author. What is the worst problem to affect any author - Writers Block.
    What if Shakespeare, an up and coming young playwright, was suddenly stuck for ideas, with a fast approaching deadline?

    So there he is having a tough time coming up with the basis for a new play entitled "Romeo and Ethel the Pirate`s Daughter", despite the fact he has promised to the theatre that it is nearly complete. Then he comes across young Lady Viola who is a big fan of the theatre, who inspires him in a number of ways.

    Quite a lot of in-jokes about London, the plays, other people around at that time etc.
    Check the commentary to see if you caught them all! I poked around on the WWW afterwards to track down the details of some of the characters mentioned directly or tangentially.
    The action and story move on at a decent pace keeping you engaged.

    There is quite a lot of drama, and not a little comedy. A fine cast of people takes part, lots of familiar faces. Judie Dench plays a mean Elizabeth the 1st, but an Oscar for 6 minutes on screen?

    Video is pretty sharp, and the sound good, but its mostly dialog with some music.

    Extras include two commentaries, which help give background to a number of the scenes, including the writers block business.
    Some deleted scenes, which give a different view on some parts. They include a slightly alternate ending. A handful of other shorts and trailers complete the set.

    Anyway - in summary, not at all dull, and even possibly enough to inspire you to see some of the real thing.
    posted by Julian Onions on 4/2/2004 12:26