HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Disappearance at Clifton Hill
Sullivans, The
Piranhas
Love in the Afternoon
Black Water: Abyss
Wild Blue Yonder, The
All Hail the Popcorn King
Muriel, or the Time of Return
Selma
Great Locomotive Chase, The
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
Druids
War of the Wizards
Onward
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Radioactive
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Sonatine
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Luck of Ginger Coffey, The
Junkers Come Here
Ladius
White, White Day, A
Strong Medicine
   
 
Newest Articles
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
   
 
  Tempest, The Brave Old/New World
Year: 1979
Director: Derek Jarman
Stars: Heathcoate Williams, Karl Johnson, Toyah Willcox, Jack Birkett, Christopher Biggins, Peter Turner, Ken Campbell, Peter Bull, David Meyer, Neil Cunningham, Richard Warwick, Elizabeth Welch, Claire Davenport, Helen Wellington-Lloyd, Angela Whittingham
Genre: Weirdo, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Prospero (Heathcoate Williams) used to be the rightful Duke of Milan, and he believes he still is, but it's difficult to claim his title and all that goes with it when he has been exiled to an island in the middle of nowhere. But he has cultivated strange powers while he has been there with his daughter Miranda (Toyah Willcox), and tonight while he sleeps he dreams up a tempest that will ensure a ship is wrecked out to sea, all the better for the survivors to wash up on his shore. And if those survivors be the men who tormented and banished him, then that's nothing short of everything he would have wanted, for vengeance is on his mind, all he must do is work out the best method of achieving that.

Unless you counted Forbidden Planet, the nineteen-fifties science fiction version of William Shakespeare's final play The Tempest, which not everyone does considering the liberties taken with it, then director Derek Jarman was the first talent to really tackle the material in cinematic form, though he too took liberties. Prior to this he had made waves with his punk celebration Jubilee, which shared some of the same cast, but you got the impression he was on less judgemental and more solid ground by approaching this as he did, if you could describe such a hard to pin down play as solid. It was certainly one of the strangest works the Bard ever penned, which might be why it has not been often adapted for the screen - it's no Hamlet or Macbeth.

That said, once Jarman had delivered his version there were others to follow, as if he had made alternative creatives think, ah, so it can be done without recourse to Robby the Robot, and Peter Greenaway's Prospero's Books owed much to his trailblazing, even nicking Jarman's first choice of Prospero in Sir John Gielgud in one of his last roles. Julie Taymor also delivered a version with similar artistic liberties taken, also owing much to Jarman and his iconoclastic stylings, though where she offered a feminist reading of the text by making Prospero a woman played by Dame Helen Mirren, back in 1979 the take was resolutely male homosexual. In case you were in any doubt, the mostly male cast frequently disrobed.

Although prospective punkette pop star Toyah had a topless scene too, just to offer a dose of equality, the most arresting female nudity came from British comedy staple Claire Davenport as Sycorax in a flashback where she suckled Caliban (blind performer Jack Birkett) and tried to do the same to the hapless spirit Ariel (pale and wan Karl Johnson). While you could make a case for Jarman attempting to eroticise the material with bare naked men in the same way he had with his Latin language yarn Sebastiane, he did have a tendency to go full on grotesque, almost playfully, to undercut the more overtly sexual aspects, including a musical finale. Naturally, this was not going to endear him to the purists, and anyone but the most adventurous movie buffs were going to find it hard work too, but it was a singular vision and that can have worth.

It's not as if Jarman had no respect for the source, it was more that he built on it to amuse himself, much as Ken Russell, who he had been a collaborator with at one point, would do with his tackling of the classics, a very British manner of reacting to the possibly intimidating task of bringing Shakespeare out of the theatre. That said, there remained an artificiality to what we were seeing that tended to take you out of the action, or at least feel at one remove from it, which meant that there came a point when you were not immersed in this strange world and noting the texture of the dialogue, and more letting it all just play out before your eyes and watching them get on with making themselves laugh. Was the gay theme even a good fit with The Tempest? You may not be wholly convinced that it was, though it was a mark of how malleable the play could be in its weirdness that it could withstand such pressures on it and remain a perfectly fair incarnation. It may have been cheap, but it did conjure a dreamlike mood that, say, the over-fussy Greenaway didn't accomplish.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1163 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
  Hannah Prosser
   

 

Last Updated: