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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: December ::
Al Pacino in "The Merchant of Venice"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.2094  Monday, 13 December 2004

[1]     From:   Wan-yu Lin <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 Dec 2004 13:32:28 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.2082 Al Pacino in "The Merchant of Venice"

[2]     From:   JD Markel <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 Dec 2004 16:42:47 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.2082 Al Pacino in "The Merchant of Venice"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Wan-yu Lin <
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Date:           Friday, 10 Dec 2004 13:32:28 -0000
Subject: 15.2082 Al Pacino in "The Merchant of Venice"
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.2082 Al Pacino in "The Merchant of Venice"

I saw it yesterday in an excellent cinema with five of us the only
audience. Does anyone know if this film sells well anywhere? Is it yet
another classic for Shakespearians only.

Too much attention by film critics has been put on Shakespeare's
anti-Semite assertion, which I personally think has gone pretty out of
focus. Al Pacino's Shylock will remain impressive, in a far from
well-done production. Even though the set, the music, the costume are
all great, the script does not fit the 2-hour movie: those who are not
familiar with the play would find themselves difficult to involve
themselves in the story. That's what's the most traumatic, not the
contentions about Shakespeare's attitude toward the Jewish people as a
whole. Having said that, if you don't get to see it, you miss a
well-performed pitiable Shylock. Besides, the implication in the film of
the homosexual love between the two Christians is asking for more debates.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           JD Markel <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 10 Dec 2004 16:42:47 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 15.2082 Al Pacino in "The Merchant of Venice"
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.2082 Al Pacino in "The Merchant of Venice"

Quite a rant from Mr. Freedland, nevertheless interesting.

Pacino as Shylock?  Does that make anyone else contemplate a comparison
of MOV with Scarface, another work about money?  Some example quotes:
"Money, money, money, money, money; that's all I ever hear in this
house" and "In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when
you get the money, you get the power.  Then when you get the power, then
you get the woman."
There's a thesis paper!

Freedland adds:

"As the great critic Harold Bloom has declared, "One would have to be
blind, deaf and dumb not to recognise that Shakespeare's grand,
equivocal comedy The Merchant of Venice is nevertheless a profoundly
anti-Semitic work."

Mr. Bridgman, I don't know if you in the UK read Harold Bloom much, but
the quote comes from his MOV chapter in his book "Invention of the Human
Being".  After that assertion Bloom lays out points that subvert his
thesis and he ends with a tacit admission he hasn't made his case.  He
then resorts to a claim the anti-Semitic meanings are like esoteric
secrets, and can only be understood by three groups of academics, they
being, if I remember correct, "anti-Semitic scholars, old historicists
and new." Problematically he already distinguished himself as neither an
old historicist or new.  Truly his MOV chapter was one of the most
bizarre things I've read on the topic.

Any idea when the film is to be released in the USA?

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