20. As You Like It (1992)
Despite its hey-nonny-nonny reputation, Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy, written during a time of immense social upheaval, has sharp edges. Or at least it does in this modern-dress version by director Christine Edzard, which makes it into a thinly veiled commentary on the inequalities of post-Thatcherite Britain. Arden becomes a cardboard city in London’s Docklands, while the “court” from which Rosalind (Emma Croft) and co are expelled is a glitzy bank. Heavy-handed but thought-provoking.
. 19. Julius Caesar (1953)
Marlon Brando as Mark Antony.It may be a little too plush and self-satisfied, but Joseph L Mankiewicz’s golden-age Hollywood version of the tragedy some Americans regard as their own has stood the test of time. Perhaps its most impressive aspect is the cast: John Gielgud, James Mason, Deborah Kerr, Louis Calhern. Marlon Brando’s blazing turn as Antony (“Lend me your ears”) is so riveting that you almost forget Roland Barthes wrote an entire essay mocking the wigs. [ . . . ]
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