Richard III


2h 38m 1955
Richard III

Brief Synopsis

A hunchbacked madman plots to make himself king of England.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Historical
War
Adaptation
Release Date
1955
Distribution Company
Public Media Inc.

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 38m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.96 : 1

Synopsis

Shakespeare's play about Richard Crookback, his seizure of the throne and his defeat at Bosworth.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Historical
War
Adaptation
Release Date
1955
Distribution Company
Public Media Inc.

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 38m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.96 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Actor

1955
Laurence Olivier

Articles

Richard III


In 1955, Laurence Olivier brought to the screen what most critics consider his greatest Shakespearean role, the hunchbacked nobleman who murders his way to the throne, and won his fifth Oscar® nomination. Although now considered a classic and, to many, the best of his three Shakespeare films, Richard III lost money in the U.S., which may have cost his towering performance the Academy Award®.

Olivier first played Richard in 1944, when it became his first major post-war success. Modeled in part on Broadway producer Jed Harris, whom the actor considered one of the most evil people he had ever met, his Richard was as charismatic as he was crafty, luring the audience into caring about his fate before committing his greatest crimes, including the murder of the two young nephews who stand between him and the throne. It also represented one of his most extreme physical transformations, from the limp that made him look like a human spider, to the tapering, rat-like fingers.

By the mid-'50s, Olivier was in a critical slump. Although he was enjoying a long run in London opposite wife Vivien Leigh in Terence Rattigan's The Sleeping Prince (which he would film with Marilyn Monroe as The Prince and the Showgirl in 1957), the play was a trifle. Nor had his other recent stage or screen work done much to enhance the reputation of a man once hailed as the greatest actor of the British stage. Hoping to turn things around, he set out to secure funding for a film version of Macbeth in which he hoped to team with Leigh. When he had trouble finding the money, Sir Alexander Korda suggested that Richard III might be more bankable. Not only did he offer to fund the film, but also he promised to produce Macbeth for Olivier if Richard III proved profitable. With urging from Leigh, his son Tarquin and director Sir Carol Reed, he finally agreed, though Olivier only consented to direct the film when Reed proved unavailable.

Initially, Olivier wanted to assemble an all-star cast. He approached Richard Burton about playing Richard's usurper, the future Henry VII, and also offered small roles to Robert Donat, John Mills and Richard Attenborough. Although none of them were available, he eventually assembled a cast that included four knights of the British Empire: himself, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Sir John Gielgud and Sir Ralph Richardson. The latter was only cast because he had asked for the role of Buckingham, the conspirator Richard ultimately betrays. Olivier had wanted to cast another friend, Orson Welles, but couldn't disappoint Richardson. Years later he would admit that Welles would have been better in the role. During filming, he felt Richardson was playing too much for audience sympathy and failed to capture the character's deviousness.

Leigh wanted to play Lady Anne, the woman Richard seduces after murdering her father-in-law, but Olivier chose the younger Claire Bloom instead. Korda then suggested he cast Leigh in a silent cameo, a role specially created for the film version, but instead Olivier convinced the producer to cast her in another of his films, The Deep Blue Sea, a leading role he felt better suited to her talents. Not having Leigh around on the set proved fortuitous for the director-star, as he had an affair with Bloom during shooting.

To prepare for the film version, Olivier spent two weeks in virtual seclusion as he rethought his characterization of Richard in filmic terms. He also enlisted scholar Alan Dent, who had worked on his other Shakespeare films, to help him shape the text for the screen. As in the past, he preferred cutting out entire characters and scenes to simply trimming lines within scenes, which he would later say left you with "a mass of short ends." Shakespeare scholars would quarrel with his elimination of Margaret, the mad queen whose husband Richard had killed, but others were impressed by his insertion of the coronation of Richard's brother from Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 3 to help clarify the play's historical background. Olivier also inserted lines from Colley Cibber and David Garrick's 18th century stage adaptations of the play. He changed the body over which Lady Anne mourns from her father-in-law's to her husband's and added a clear indication that Richard had killed him, too, so that her capitulation to his courtship would be more dramatic. And he re-staged Richard's death so that he was slaughtered by enemy soldiers, many his former allies, rather than killed in one-on-one combat with Henry VII, thus turning his death into a form of national cleansing after Richard's corrupt rule.

Olivier reassembled the production team from his other Shakespeare films, including production designer Roger Furse, art director Carmen Dillon, composer William Walton and associate director Anthony Bushell. As with Henry V, they modeled the film's look on the illustrations in the medieval Book of the Hours. The sets featured bright colors, while Olivier staged the actors in often symmetrical tableaux. Feeling he couldn't top the battle scenes from Henry V, Olivier decided to model the climactic Battle of Bosworth Field on medieval tapestries, only adding realism in closer shots of brutal hand-to-hand combat.

Those scenes could not be shot on their original location, as the region had been modernized since the 15th century. Instead, Bushell found a bull farm outside Madrid where the foliage was green enough to pass for England and secured the cooperation of the Spanish Army. This was a decade before Spain would become the "go to" location for epic filmmakers around the world. Olivier scheduled the climactic battle for the first days of shooting and worked overtime to make the 500 extras look like two armies totaling 60,000 men.

The battle scenes turned out to be the most dangerous in Richard III. One scene was delayed a day when, as the light was fading, one of the actor's horses decided to mount Olivier's. That wasn't the worst the star had to endure. For a scene in which Richard's horse is shot out from under him, Olivier wanted to charge the camera, moving into a close up as the arrow struck his horse. The horse was appropriately padded, but Olivier wasn't. As he drove the horse toward the camera, he shifted his leg, and the master bowman sent his shaft right through Olivier's calf. After completing the shot, the actor asked Bushell if they had gotten it right. He then discussed ways to incorporate the accident within the scene's final cut. Only then did he call for a doctor. Fortunately, the arrow had struck his left leg, the leg on which Richard limped, so there were no delays waiting for the wound to heal.

In fact, there were few delays during the shooting, and Olivier brought Richard III in ahead of schedule in just 17 weeks (compared to six months shooting on Hamlet, 1948). This was particularly impressive given the intricacy of the production. Olivier's makeup, including hump back and withered hand, took three hours to apply each day. In addition, he used long takes throughout the film to allow the actors to build their scenes more theatrically. His opening soliloquy was shot in one nine-minute take. When he almost dropped the king's crown in the first scene, rather than re-shoot, he used the accident to create a motif for the film. The crown, as symbol of the British throne, runs throughout the film, shot from a variety of angles until it falls from Richard's head in the final battle and is handed to his successor.

Richard III opened to mostly favorable reviews in England, with C.A. Lejeune of The Observer stating, "Olivier may have savaged the play's text, but he cuts deep and true to the play's spirit." It would win three British Academy Awards: Best Actor, Best British Film and Best Film From Any Source. Released as Olivier was enjoying a triumphant season at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-on-Avon, Richard III brought him back into critical favor.

In the U.S., Korda cut a deal with NBC to broadcast the film's premiere for $500,000. At three hours, the Sunday afternoon telecast was the longest dramatic TV program to that time. It scored the highest rating ever for a daytime broadcast other than sports, with an estimated 40 million people watching -- more than had seen the play in theatres since its premiere in 1592. But Olivier was not pleased. The wide-screen production had not been intended for the almost square television screens of the time, and few but the richest viewers were able to see the program in color. In addition, much of the violence in the final scene had been cut. Worst of all were the ads. NBC promoted the film with the line "Yessirree! When do four good (k)nights equal three top TV hours?" There were only three commercial breaks during the film, but they were more of a disruption than the director wanted, particularly when one advertised a car with "more power than all of the horses in Richard III."

To make matters worse, the TV airing probably helped account for the film's poor box office showing in the U.S. Although the film played 10 weeks in its first theatre in New York City it did not do as well in the rest of the country, which may account for its being the only one of Olivier's three Shakespeare adaptations not to receive an Oscar® nomination for Best Picture. When it was reissued in 1966, however, it broke box office records around the world, including the U.S.

Shortly after the release of Richard III, Olivier suffered a more personal loss. Korda died suddenly of a heart attack. Beyond the loss of a good friend, and one of the few British film producers he trusted, Korda's death cost Olivier the chance to film Macbeth as promised. He almost assembled a new deal with producer Mike Todd, but then Todd died in a plane crash, leaving one of the star's most acclaimed Shakespearean performances unfilmed.

Producer: Laurence Olivier, Alexander Korda (uncredited)
Director: Laurence Olivier
Screenplay: Laurence Olivier (uncredited), Alan Dent (uncredited)
Based on the play by William Shakespeare with additions by Colley Cibber, David Garrick
Cinematography: Otto Heller
Art Direction: Roger K. Furse
Music: William Walton
Cast: Laurence Olivier (Richard III), Cedric Hardwicke (King Edward IV of England), Ralph Richardson (Duke of Buckingham), John Gielgud (George, Duke of Clarence), Pamela Brown (Jane Shore), Claire Bloom (The Lady Anne), Laurence Naismith (The Lord Stanley), Michael Gough (Dighton, 1st murderer), Helen Haye (Duchess of York), Patrick Troughton (Tyrell), Stanley Baker (Henry, Earl of Richmond).
C-161m.

by Frank Miller

SOURCES:
Laurence Olivier by John Cottrell
Richard Iii

Richard III

In 1955, Laurence Olivier brought to the screen what most critics consider his greatest Shakespearean role, the hunchbacked nobleman who murders his way to the throne, and won his fifth Oscar® nomination. Although now considered a classic and, to many, the best of his three Shakespeare films, Richard III lost money in the U.S., which may have cost his towering performance the Academy Award®. Olivier first played Richard in 1944, when it became his first major post-war success. Modeled in part on Broadway producer Jed Harris, whom the actor considered one of the most evil people he had ever met, his Richard was as charismatic as he was crafty, luring the audience into caring about his fate before committing his greatest crimes, including the murder of the two young nephews who stand between him and the throne. It also represented one of his most extreme physical transformations, from the limp that made him look like a human spider, to the tapering, rat-like fingers. By the mid-'50s, Olivier was in a critical slump. Although he was enjoying a long run in London opposite wife Vivien Leigh in Terence Rattigan's The Sleeping Prince (which he would film with Marilyn Monroe as The Prince and the Showgirl in 1957), the play was a trifle. Nor had his other recent stage or screen work done much to enhance the reputation of a man once hailed as the greatest actor of the British stage. Hoping to turn things around, he set out to secure funding for a film version of Macbeth in which he hoped to team with Leigh. When he had trouble finding the money, Sir Alexander Korda suggested that Richard III might be more bankable. Not only did he offer to fund the film, but also he promised to produce Macbeth for Olivier if Richard III proved profitable. With urging from Leigh, his son Tarquin and director Sir Carol Reed, he finally agreed, though Olivier only consented to direct the film when Reed proved unavailable. Initially, Olivier wanted to assemble an all-star cast. He approached Richard Burton about playing Richard's usurper, the future Henry VII, and also offered small roles to Robert Donat, John Mills and Richard Attenborough. Although none of them were available, he eventually assembled a cast that included four knights of the British Empire: himself, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Sir John Gielgud and Sir Ralph Richardson. The latter was only cast because he had asked for the role of Buckingham, the conspirator Richard ultimately betrays. Olivier had wanted to cast another friend, Orson Welles, but couldn't disappoint Richardson. Years later he would admit that Welles would have been better in the role. During filming, he felt Richardson was playing too much for audience sympathy and failed to capture the character's deviousness. Leigh wanted to play Lady Anne, the woman Richard seduces after murdering her father-in-law, but Olivier chose the younger Claire Bloom instead. Korda then suggested he cast Leigh in a silent cameo, a role specially created for the film version, but instead Olivier convinced the producer to cast her in another of his films, The Deep Blue Sea, a leading role he felt better suited to her talents. Not having Leigh around on the set proved fortuitous for the director-star, as he had an affair with Bloom during shooting. To prepare for the film version, Olivier spent two weeks in virtual seclusion as he rethought his characterization of Richard in filmic terms. He also enlisted scholar Alan Dent, who had worked on his other Shakespeare films, to help him shape the text for the screen. As in the past, he preferred cutting out entire characters and scenes to simply trimming lines within scenes, which he would later say left you with "a mass of short ends." Shakespeare scholars would quarrel with his elimination of Margaret, the mad queen whose husband Richard had killed, but others were impressed by his insertion of the coronation of Richard's brother from Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 3 to help clarify the play's historical background. Olivier also inserted lines from Colley Cibber and David Garrick's 18th century stage adaptations of the play. He changed the body over which Lady Anne mourns from her father-in-law's to her husband's and added a clear indication that Richard had killed him, too, so that her capitulation to his courtship would be more dramatic. And he re-staged Richard's death so that he was slaughtered by enemy soldiers, many his former allies, rather than killed in one-on-one combat with Henry VII, thus turning his death into a form of national cleansing after Richard's corrupt rule. Olivier reassembled the production team from his other Shakespeare films, including production designer Roger Furse, art director Carmen Dillon, composer William Walton and associate director Anthony Bushell. As with Henry V, they modeled the film's look on the illustrations in the medieval Book of the Hours. The sets featured bright colors, while Olivier staged the actors in often symmetrical tableaux. Feeling he couldn't top the battle scenes from Henry V, Olivier decided to model the climactic Battle of Bosworth Field on medieval tapestries, only adding realism in closer shots of brutal hand-to-hand combat. Those scenes could not be shot on their original location, as the region had been modernized since the 15th century. Instead, Bushell found a bull farm outside Madrid where the foliage was green enough to pass for England and secured the cooperation of the Spanish Army. This was a decade before Spain would become the "go to" location for epic filmmakers around the world. Olivier scheduled the climactic battle for the first days of shooting and worked overtime to make the 500 extras look like two armies totaling 60,000 men. The battle scenes turned out to be the most dangerous in Richard III. One scene was delayed a day when, as the light was fading, one of the actor's horses decided to mount Olivier's. That wasn't the worst the star had to endure. For a scene in which Richard's horse is shot out from under him, Olivier wanted to charge the camera, moving into a close up as the arrow struck his horse. The horse was appropriately padded, but Olivier wasn't. As he drove the horse toward the camera, he shifted his leg, and the master bowman sent his shaft right through Olivier's calf. After completing the shot, the actor asked Bushell if they had gotten it right. He then discussed ways to incorporate the accident within the scene's final cut. Only then did he call for a doctor. Fortunately, the arrow had struck his left leg, the leg on which Richard limped, so there were no delays waiting for the wound to heal. In fact, there were few delays during the shooting, and Olivier brought Richard III in ahead of schedule in just 17 weeks (compared to six months shooting on Hamlet, 1948). This was particularly impressive given the intricacy of the production. Olivier's makeup, including hump back and withered hand, took three hours to apply each day. In addition, he used long takes throughout the film to allow the actors to build their scenes more theatrically. His opening soliloquy was shot in one nine-minute take. When he almost dropped the king's crown in the first scene, rather than re-shoot, he used the accident to create a motif for the film. The crown, as symbol of the British throne, runs throughout the film, shot from a variety of angles until it falls from Richard's head in the final battle and is handed to his successor. Richard III opened to mostly favorable reviews in England, with C.A. Lejeune of The Observer stating, "Olivier may have savaged the play's text, but he cuts deep and true to the play's spirit." It would win three British Academy Awards: Best Actor, Best British Film and Best Film From Any Source. Released as Olivier was enjoying a triumphant season at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-on-Avon, Richard III brought him back into critical favor. In the U.S., Korda cut a deal with NBC to broadcast the film's premiere for $500,000. At three hours, the Sunday afternoon telecast was the longest dramatic TV program to that time. It scored the highest rating ever for a daytime broadcast other than sports, with an estimated 40 million people watching -- more than had seen the play in theatres since its premiere in 1592. But Olivier was not pleased. The wide-screen production had not been intended for the almost square television screens of the time, and few but the richest viewers were able to see the program in color. In addition, much of the violence in the final scene had been cut. Worst of all were the ads. NBC promoted the film with the line "Yessirree! When do four good (k)nights equal three top TV hours?" There were only three commercial breaks during the film, but they were more of a disruption than the director wanted, particularly when one advertised a car with "more power than all of the horses in Richard III." To make matters worse, the TV airing probably helped account for the film's poor box office showing in the U.S. Although the film played 10 weeks in its first theatre in New York City it did not do as well in the rest of the country, which may account for its being the only one of Olivier's three Shakespeare adaptations not to receive an Oscar® nomination for Best Picture. When it was reissued in 1966, however, it broke box office records around the world, including the U.S. Shortly after the release of Richard III, Olivier suffered a more personal loss. Korda died suddenly of a heart attack. Beyond the loss of a good friend, and one of the few British film producers he trusted, Korda's death cost Olivier the chance to film Macbeth as promised. He almost assembled a new deal with producer Mike Todd, but then Todd died in a plane crash, leaving one of the star's most acclaimed Shakespearean performances unfilmed. Producer: Laurence Olivier, Alexander Korda (uncredited) Director: Laurence Olivier Screenplay: Laurence Olivier (uncredited), Alan Dent (uncredited) Based on the play by William Shakespeare with additions by Colley Cibber, David Garrick Cinematography: Otto Heller Art Direction: Roger K. Furse Music: William Walton Cast: Laurence Olivier (Richard III), Cedric Hardwicke (King Edward IV of England), Ralph Richardson (Duke of Buckingham), John Gielgud (George, Duke of Clarence), Pamela Brown (Jane Shore), Claire Bloom (The Lady Anne), Laurence Naismith (The Lord Stanley), Michael Gough (Dighton, 1st murderer), Helen Haye (Duchess of York), Patrick Troughton (Tyrell), Stanley Baker (Henry, Earl of Richmond). C-161m. by Frank Miller SOURCES: Laurence Olivier by John Cottrell

Richard III


Richard III (1955), the third and final of Laurence Olivier's cinematic mountings of Shakespeare as director and star, never quite received the amount of universal esteem that met his productions of Henry V (1945) and Hamlet (1948). Of the three films, it certainly has the most stagebound feel, and the adaptation has enough deviations from the Bard's text to inspire debate amongst purists. At bottom, though, the film still captures one of the theater's great performers assaying one of the theater's great villainous roles, and The Criterion Collection has done a handsome job of packaging it for DVD release, securing some 20 minutes of long-thought lost footage.

Briefly, the narrative takes place after the cessation of the War of the Roses, when the bitter Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Olivier) decides to spend his energies clearing his path for ascension to the British throne upon the death of his ill brother, Edward IV (Cedric Hardwicke). These intrigues include the seduction of the newly-widowed Lady Anne Neville (Claire Bloom), the disgrace and jailhouse assassination of his other brother, the ascetic George, Duke of Clarence (John Gielgud), and the abduction and murder of Edward's young sons. Although these machinations eventually secure him the crown, maintaining power becomes another issue entirely, as brewing rebellion leads him to his fateful confrontation at Bosworth with Henry of Richmond (Stanley Baker).

Olivier's work before the camera in Richard III distinguishes the film much more than his work behind it. The role of the deformed despot has often been cited as Olivier's favorite, and his relish is obvious. As he plays Richard's amoral ambitions out directly to the camera, Olivier seemingly takes the viewer into his confidence, gently showing a perverse brand of puckishness as he does so. As director, he also wrested exceptional work from his distinguished supporting players, who also included Ralph Richardson as his craven ally Buckingham. The shortfall comes in Olivier's staging of the narrative for film, which is surprisingly static; it opens up, and wonderfully, for the action-filled denouement at Bosworth, but never before. Overall, though, it's a memorable effort.

Beyond restoring the print to Olivier's 175-minute cut, Home Vision did a fairly remarkable job with the overall image quality of this older film. Presented in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio and digitally restored, the filmmaker's use of color is undiminished in its vibrance, and noticeable glitches in the print are few and far between. The full-length commentary track, provided by playwright Russell Lees and former Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company John Wilders, was initially utilized on Criterion's release of Richard III to the laserdisc format in 1992. That fact does nothing to diminish their effective efforts in exploring the whys and wherefores of Olivier's creative choices, such as culling dialogue from Shakespeare's other histories to allow the narrative to stand on its own. They also serve to highlight the contrasts in acting approach between the method-tinged Olivier and the more classically-oriented Gielgud.

Chief amongst the extras on the second disc is the complete episode from the 1966 television series Great Acting in which Olivier undertakes a comprehensive overview of his career with critic Kenneth Tynan. A significant chunk of the broadcast is devoted to the role of Gloucester, and it's an overall must-see for anyone with appreciation of Olivier and his craft. In an unusual maneuver, the film was actually broadcast on British television concurrent with its original theatrical release. Offered on the second disc is a 12-minute "foretaste of the film" created for television audiences, which boasts footage of Olivier and his collaborators-- producer Alexander Korda, associate director Anthony Bushell, production designer Roger Furse, art director Carmen Dillon-- at work on the production. The theatrical trailer and a gallery of production stills, comments by Olivier, and lobby posters round out this remarkable package.

For more information about Richard III, visit Criterion Collection. To order Richard III, go to TCM Shopping.

by Jay S. Steinberg

Richard III

Richard III (1955), the third and final of Laurence Olivier's cinematic mountings of Shakespeare as director and star, never quite received the amount of universal esteem that met his productions of Henry V (1945) and Hamlet (1948). Of the three films, it certainly has the most stagebound feel, and the adaptation has enough deviations from the Bard's text to inspire debate amongst purists. At bottom, though, the film still captures one of the theater's great performers assaying one of the theater's great villainous roles, and The Criterion Collection has done a handsome job of packaging it for DVD release, securing some 20 minutes of long-thought lost footage. Briefly, the narrative takes place after the cessation of the War of the Roses, when the bitter Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Olivier) decides to spend his energies clearing his path for ascension to the British throne upon the death of his ill brother, Edward IV (Cedric Hardwicke). These intrigues include the seduction of the newly-widowed Lady Anne Neville (Claire Bloom), the disgrace and jailhouse assassination of his other brother, the ascetic George, Duke of Clarence (John Gielgud), and the abduction and murder of Edward's young sons. Although these machinations eventually secure him the crown, maintaining power becomes another issue entirely, as brewing rebellion leads him to his fateful confrontation at Bosworth with Henry of Richmond (Stanley Baker). Olivier's work before the camera in Richard III distinguishes the film much more than his work behind it. The role of the deformed despot has often been cited as Olivier's favorite, and his relish is obvious. As he plays Richard's amoral ambitions out directly to the camera, Olivier seemingly takes the viewer into his confidence, gently showing a perverse brand of puckishness as he does so. As director, he also wrested exceptional work from his distinguished supporting players, who also included Ralph Richardson as his craven ally Buckingham. The shortfall comes in Olivier's staging of the narrative for film, which is surprisingly static; it opens up, and wonderfully, for the action-filled denouement at Bosworth, but never before. Overall, though, it's a memorable effort. Beyond restoring the print to Olivier's 175-minute cut, Home Vision did a fairly remarkable job with the overall image quality of this older film. Presented in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio and digitally restored, the filmmaker's use of color is undiminished in its vibrance, and noticeable glitches in the print are few and far between. The full-length commentary track, provided by playwright Russell Lees and former Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company John Wilders, was initially utilized on Criterion's release of Richard III to the laserdisc format in 1992. That fact does nothing to diminish their effective efforts in exploring the whys and wherefores of Olivier's creative choices, such as culling dialogue from Shakespeare's other histories to allow the narrative to stand on its own. They also serve to highlight the contrasts in acting approach between the method-tinged Olivier and the more classically-oriented Gielgud. Chief amongst the extras on the second disc is the complete episode from the 1966 television series Great Acting in which Olivier undertakes a comprehensive overview of his career with critic Kenneth Tynan. A significant chunk of the broadcast is devoted to the role of Gloucester, and it's an overall must-see for anyone with appreciation of Olivier and his craft. In an unusual maneuver, the film was actually broadcast on British television concurrent with its original theatrical release. Offered on the second disc is a 12-minute "foretaste of the film" created for television audiences, which boasts footage of Olivier and his collaborators-- producer Alexander Korda, associate director Anthony Bushell, production designer Roger Furse, art director Carmen Dillon-- at work on the production. The theatrical trailer and a gallery of production stills, comments by Olivier, and lobby posters round out this remarkable package. For more information about Richard III, visit Criterion Collection. To order Richard III, go to TCM Shopping. by Jay S. Steinberg

Quotes

Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York. And all the clouds that lower'd upon our house in the deep bosom of the ocean buried. Now are brows bound with victorious wreaths, our bruised arms hung up for monuments, our stern alarums changed to merry meetings, our dreadful marches to delightful measures. Grim vised war has smoothed his wrinkled front and now instead or mounting barbed steeds to fright the souls of fearful adversaries he capers nimbly in a lady's chamber to the lascivious pleasing of a lute! But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks nor made to court an amorous looking glass, I that am rudely stamped and want love's majesty to strut before a wanton ambling nymph, I that am curtailed of fair proportion, cheated of feature by dissembling nature deformed! Unfinished! Sent before my time into breathing world scarce half made up and so lamely and unfashionable that dogs do bark at me as I halt by them.
- Richard
Look how my ring encompasseth thy finger. Even so thy breast encloseth my poor heart. Wear both of them, for both of them are thine.
- Richard III
Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass; that I may see my shadow as I pass.
- Richard III
Conscience is but a word that cowards use.
- Richard III
A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!
- Richard III

Trivia

The first film to have its U.S. premiere in theatres and on TV simultaneously. This occurred on 11 March 1956, when NBC-TV broadcast the film on the same day it had its U.S. premiere in New York. (It had already had its world premiere and first run in London in 1955.)

Olivier based his characterization of Richard on a much-despised theatrical director named Jed Harris. Years later he learned that the animators at Disney used Harris for the basis of the Big Bad Wolf.

Miscellaneous Notes

The United Kingdom

Voted One of the Year's Ten Best Films by the 1956 National Board of Review.

Voted One of the Year's Ten Best Films by the 1956 New York Times Film Critics.

Winner of the Silver Bear Prize at the 1956 Berlin Film Festival.

Released in United States 1956

Released in United States on Video August 31, 1988

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1955

Re-released in United States on Video August 18, 1993

Shown at the 1956 Berlin International Film Festival.

VistaVision

Released in United States 1956

Released in United States 1956 (Shown at the 1956 Berlin International Film Festival.)

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1955

Re-released in United States on Video August 18, 1993

Released in United States on Video August 31, 1988