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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: September ::
Re: Ben Jonson Videos and More
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 608.  Thursday, 30 Sept. 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Fran Teague <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Sep 93 09:43:39 EDT
        Subj:   Jonson Productions
 
(2)     From:   Kenneth S. Rothwell <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Sep 1993 16:33:44 -500 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0599 Assorted Rs & Qs: Productions, esp. TV & Video
 
(3)     From:   Terry Craig <
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        Date:   Thursday, 30 Sep 1993 09:34:16 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Ben Jonson, MTV Shakespeare
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <
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Date:           Wednesday, 29 Sep 93 09:43:39 EDT
Subject:        Jonson Productions
 
I know of three possible Jonson productions that might be of use to Walter
Cannon.  The first of these is the Canadian Broadcasting Company film of a
cut-down  _Volpone_.  I remember seeing this one in the 1970s in Austin, but
have no idea how one would go about ordering it.  My memory is that the prod.
was excellent.
 
Second, the French silent film version of _Volpone_ is available on videotape.
I ordered it from a specialty catalogue.  I emphatically do not recommend this
one, unless you're a diehard Jonsonian.  The quality is poor, the version is
Zweik, and students loathe it.
 
A third possibility is _The Honey Pot_ starring  Rex Harrison, Susan Hayward,
Cliff Robertson, Maggie Smith, Capucine.  It's a re-writing of _Volpone_ that
transforms it into a murder mystery.  It's too long for most students, but
could generate some interesting discussion (e.g., when does it stop being
_Volpone_? Do the shifts work?  Why are the legacy hunters changed to women?)
 
Such re-workings are often more fun in a classroom than straight renditions.  I
use Kurosawa with Shakespeare's tragedies, Mazursky's _Tempest_ and _Forbidden
Planet_ with TMP; Men of Respect with MAC; Dresser with LR; Bedazzled with
Doctor Faustus; and Heathers with Changeling.  I especially recommend that last
to  anyone doing Renaissance drama courses; students love arguing about whether
the pairing is justified or not.  Now if only a film had been made of George
C. Scott in Larry Gelbart's re-working of _Volpone_:  _Sly Fox_!
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kenneth S. Rothwell <
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Date:           Wednesday, 29 Sep 1993 16:33:44 -500 (EDT)
Subject: 4.0599 Assorted Rs & Qs: Productions, esp. TV & Video
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0599 Assorted Rs & Qs: Productions, esp. TV & Video
 
Dear Walter Cannon, Two Volpones on video that I know of are:
        (1)Volpone, dir. Maurice Tourneur, w. Harry Baur, Louis Jouvet,
France, 1939. In French with English subtitles. B&W. 80 min.
        (2) The Honey Pot, dir. Joseph Mankiewicz, w. Rex Harrison, Susan
Hayward, Cliff Robertson, Maggie Smith. USA 1967. 131 min. A  witty
modernization of Jonson's play focusing on the timeless motif of
legacy-hunting. I can't remember if it's in color or B&W. I think the
latter. You'll need to canvass dealers to see who carries them. Facets
Video, 1517 W. Fullerton St., Chicago, ILL 60614 (CAll 1-800-331-6197) might
be a good bet. They have a huge inventory. Ken Rothwell
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terry Craig <
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Date:           Thursday, 30 Sep 1993 09:34:16 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Ben Jonson, MTV Shakespeare
 
Re Ben Jonson:
 
Insight Media advertises a video of *Volpone* for $59.95 (80
minutes, in French with subtitles), but it appears to be an
old one--1939.
                Insight Media
                121 West 85th Street
                New York NY  10024-4401
                (800)-233-9910
                (212)-721-6316
 
Re *Merchant of Venice*:
 
Given the interest in recent months in Shylock and anti-Semitism
(all very valuable and serious), I thought I'd pass along what
happened in my Shakespeare class the other day. The students were
discussing Shylock's "conversion" and wondering whether it was
really necessary for Antonio et al to insist that Shylock become
a Christian. Most agreed that it was of course not necessary, that
it was downright awful. Then Mark, in the back of the room, said,
"Of course it was necessary. If they hadn't done it we'd never
have had that great song from R.E.M." And he smiled and started
to sing, "'That's me in the corner / That's me in the spotlight /
Losin' my religion . . . '"
 
MTV Shakespeare.
 
Terry Craig
WVNCC
New Martinsville, WV
 

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