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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: December ::
Volpone
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2409  Friday, 19 December 2003

[1]     From:   Tanya Gough <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Dec 2003 13:47:13 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2395 Volpone

[2]     From:   Clark J. Holloway <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Dec 2003 21:15:14 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2395 Volpone


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Dec 2003 13:47:13 -0500
Subject: 14.2395 Volpone
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2395 Volpone

>But--I think Movies Unlimited simply have some
>left-over copies of Volpone--they say the price is reduced from 29.99 to
>23.99.  I doubt that this is a bootleg.

Interesting.  Thanks, Tom!

Tanya Gough
The Poor Yorick Shakespeare Catalogue
www.bardcentral.com

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clark J. Holloway <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 18 Dec 2003 21:15:14 -0800
Subject: 14.2395 Volpone
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2395 Volpone

Although Ms. Gough suggests an off-list response, there appears to be
enough interest in this tape that perhaps Mr. Cook will agree that this
posting warrants more wide-spread distribution.

I received my copy of "Volpone" from Movies Unlimited a few months ago.
The quality is about what you would expect from a "public domain" tape
(regardless of whether or not it is actually in the public domain),
which is to say that it isn't very good.  It looks like a dupe from a
rather old 16 mm print.  The image is a bit "soft," and the white
subtitles do not show up very well.  In addition, the framing often cuts
off the lower portion of the subtitles.  The tape was packaged in a
generic box, with only a spine label on the cassette case giving the
title and minimal credits (and misspelled Baur's name at that).

Actually, the first copy I received from Movies Unlimited was flawed, in
that the sound dropped out after about 45 minutes and the picture
dropped out about 50 minutes into the movie.  I quickly received a free
replacement copy, however, along with a reassuring note that it had been
previewed by one of the employees to insure that the replacement tape
was complete.

As has been alluded to, the movie deviates quite a bit from Jonson's
text.  To begin with, the movie is only 90 minutes long, so there have
been quite a few cuts and combining of characters.  What's worse, the
first 25 minutes or so gives the "back story" of the main characters and
sets up the action, so only the last 65 minutes of the movie is directly
adapted from Jonson's play.

Once I got over the fact that the movie bore only passing resemblance to
Jonson's play, it wasn't that bad (Maurice Tourneur, father of the
better known Jacques, was a fairly decent director, and the casting was
pretty good).  But I can't help thinking that it's something of a
cultural crime that this is probably the only version of one of Jonson's
plays that is even remotely available--and it isn't even in his native
language.

- Clark

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