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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: November ::
Re: "Jazz Age" MUCH
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0795.  Friday, 8 November 1996.

(1)     From:   David Evett <R0870%
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        Date:   Thursday, 07 Nov 1996 16:43 ET
        Subj:   SHK 7.0792  Re: "Jazz Age" MUCH

(2)     From:   Eric Armstrong <
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        Date:   Thursday, 7 Nov 1996 17:40:07 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0792  Re: "Jazz Age" MUCH ADO

(3)     From:   Douglas M Lanier <
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        Date:   Thursday, 7 Nov 1996 19:27:24 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0792 Re: "Jazz Age" MUCH ADO


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <R0870%
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Date:           Thursday, 07 Nov 1996 16:43 ET
Subject: Re: "Jazz Age" MUCH
Comment:        SHK 7.0792  Re: "Jazz Age" MUCH

The _Much Ado_ directed by Joseph Papp is set in a thoroughly romanticized
American small town at the turn of the last century, with the returning
soldiers in Spanish-American War uniforms and the women with long swirly skirts
and parasols.  It features Sam Waterston as a Gary-Cooperesque Benedick and
Kathleen Widdoes as a Claudette-Colbertish Beatrice; they play beautifully
together, and except for an even-more-than-usually disastrous failure to make
the Watch funny, the film as a whole is charming and fun.  I agree that it
would make a fine addition to the available filmography and wish somebody would
go to the trouble to do what has been done with the Welles things, the
Miller-Olivier _Merchant_, etc.--that is, get the necessary permissions and
work out the necessary deals to re-release it on VHS.  (If the film itself is
in bad shape I bet there are some off-air or direct copies of it out there
somewhere that could still produce a decent reissue.)

Dave Evett

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Eric Armstrong <
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Date:           Thursday, 7 Nov 1996 17:40:07 -0500
Subject: 7.0792  Re: "Jazz Age" MUCH ADO
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0792  Re: "Jazz Age" MUCH ADO

Jeff Myers says:

>Is that the one with Sam Waterston as Benedick?  If so, I don't remember it as
>being "Jazz Age."  I do remember it, however, as an absolutely fantastic
>production.  A few years ago I contacted the Papp people about showing it in
>class.  They said it only existed in one copy (film) that was in very bad shape
>(they wouldn't guarantee it was in showable condition) and cost a lot of money
>to rent.  When I asked why they didn't distribute it on videotape, they said
>they were worried about copyright infringement.  So, they're letting it
>self-destruct.  Makes sense, doesn't it?

I am not so sure about copyright infringement - but paying the actors for their
performances would be pretty pricey. To distribute what sounds like an archive
tape as a marketable video would involve paying all the actors in the
production a large amount - especially a big name like Waterston. In Canada,
the new Agreement between Canadian Actor's Equity Association and engagers
clearly limits how archival tapes can be used, and this kind of distribution is
the thing we are trying to stop. In a way, it makes plenty of "sense" and it
doesn't sound like distributing it would make any "cents".

However, maybe it  _would_ make sense for them to transfer the film to video in
the hopes of preserving their archive longer. But I always thought that
videotapes have a very short shelflife, so maybe it is better off on film,
stored in a cool dry place.

Sincerely,
Eric Armstrong

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas M Lanier <
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Date:           Thursday, 7 Nov 1996 19:27:24 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0792 Re: "Jazz Age" MUCH ADO
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0792 Re: "Jazz Age" MUCH ADO

Regarding the Papp production of MUCH ADO (which I also fondly recall),
Jeff Myers wrote:

>A few years ago I contacted the Papp people about showing it in
>class.  They said it only existed in one copy (film) that was in very bad shape
>(they wouldn't guarantee it was in showable condition) and cost a lot of money
>to rent.  When I asked why they didn't distribute it on videotape, they said
>they were worried about copyright infringement.  So, they're letting it
>self-destruct.  Makes sense, doesn't it?

Might an e-mail and snail-mail campaign from SHAKSPERians be useful in
convincing in convincing the Papp people that there is a viable commercial
market for this tape?  Is there an address or addresses we might write en masse
to lobby that this marvelous production be returned to print?

Yours in collective action,
Douglas Lanier
University of New Hampshire
 

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