In one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, Lear, a monarch of ancient Britain, is old and ready to divide his kingdom between his three daughters. His two scheming elder daughters, Goneril and Regan, flatter him excessively to get their slices, but his beloved youngest Cordelia refuses to play the game and enrages her father, who banishes her. Soon his older daughters tire of him, foisting him and his knights off on each other and eventually throwing the old king out in a storm where he loses his mind. In a parallel plot, the Earl of Gloucester's illegitimate son Edmund plots against both his father and good brother Edgar, so that the one loses his eyes and the other must go into hiding as a madman, to plan his revenge. This is a videotape of the 1974 New York Shakespeare Festival production, with minimal sets in an outdoor amphitheater (you can hear car horns and passing airplanes). The acting is stupendous, however; no surprise from Jones in the title role, Sorvino as Gloucester, solid Douglass Watson as the faithful but disguised Earl of Kent, and the late Raul Julia as the evil Edmund. There's an extra frisson from watching a white Edmund seduce Lear's black daughters. The duel between Edmund and his brother, played by Auberjonois, who many years later would become Constable Odo Ital in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," is hair raising.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus