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Richard III (London 1956, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud)



Laurence Olivier’s production is a high point in the history of Shakespeare film adaptations, bringing together Olivier with fellow icons John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson in the story of the ruthless Richard who murderously usurps the English throne.

Opening with the coronation of Edward IV (a late scene from Henry IV Part III) Olivier portrays Richard as a horrifying overreacher who commits a gruesome series of murders to secure his place on the throne. The film preserves the integrity of Shakespeare’s political masterpiece, its great speeches intact, with brilliant supporting performances by Cedric Hardwicke, Stanley Baker and Claire Bloom.

Richard III was one of three legendary Shakespeare adaptations in which Laurence Olivier was both director and star, along with Henry V (1944) and Hamlet (1948), receiving Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in all three.

production details
USA – UK / London Films – Lopert / 161 minutes / 1955

Original Story: William Shakespeare
Cinematography: Otto Heller
Editor: Helga Cranston
Music: William Walton
Script: Alan Dent, Laurence Olivier
Production Design: Roger K. Furse

Laurence Olivier as Richard III
Ralph Richardson as Duke of Buckingham
Pamela Brown as Jane Shore
Paul Huson as Edward, Prince of Wales
Cedric Hardwicke as King Edward IV of England
John Gielgud as George, Duke of Clarence
Clive Morton as The Lord Rivers
Wallace Bosco as Monk
Mary Kerridge as Queen Elizabeth
Claire Bloom as The Lady Anne
Nicholas Hannen as Archbishop
Stewart Allen as Page to Richard
Norman Fisher as Monk
Andrew Cruickshank as Brackenbury
Russell Thorndike as First Priest

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