Androcles And The Lion (BBC 1967, Norman Wisdom, Noel Coward)



Drama. Androcles, a Christian fleeing persecution in Rome, befriends a lion after pulling a painful thorn from its paw. Captured by Caesar’s men, Androcles is sent to the Colosseum to face the lions along with other Christians. They include Ferrovius, a fierce fighter who rejects forgiveness to slay the lions; Lavinia, a beautiful aristocrat who is determined to die for her faith; and Spintho, who seeks martyrdom but dies accidentally, in a cowardly fashion. Androcles enters the ring to be sacrificed but is recognized and warmly received by the lion that he had helped.

Using the story of Androcles, Shaw examines true and false religious exaltation, combining the traditions of miracle play and Christmas pantomime into a philosophical farce about early Christianity. The play’s central theme, recurrent in Shaw’s plays, is that one must have something worth dying for–an end outside oneself–to make life worth living. There had been a previous live BBC Version in the very early days of TV in 1938.

UK | BBC (Play of the Month) | 1×120 minutes | 1967

Writer: Peter Stone | Play:  George Bernard Shaw | Director: Joe Layton

Norman Wisdom as Androcles | Noel Coward as Caesar | Ed Ames as Ferrovius | Brian Bedford as Lentulus | John Cullum as Roman Captain | Clifford David as Metellus | Geoffrey Holder as Lion | Kurt Kasznar as Gladiator’s Manager | George Mathews as Centurion | William Redfield as Spintho | Patricia Routledge as Megaera, Androcles’ Wife | Inga Swenson as Lavinia

You may also be interested in...