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Authentic rendering of John Gay's 18th century musical, filmed in Technicolor, about Captain MacHeath, a highwayman, and his love for too many beautiful women. Betrayed by Jenny and Sukey, two of his bygone lovers, and temporarily freed by two others, MacHeath is arrested and condemned to death. While waiting to be hanged, the captain is entertained by a musical beggar, who has written an opera of which the highwayman is the hero. Written by
Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>
The genesis of this 1728 opera came from Jonathan Swift, who wrote to Alexander Pope in 1716 asking "...what think you, of a Newgate pastoral among the thieves and whores there?" Gay, who was a friend of both, took up the idea. See more »
While this is an adequate rendering of the famous John Gay mock opera, it suffers from having Olivier sing the entire role in his own untrained voice. After a while his vocalism grows wearisome, having a slight flat and dull quality to his tone.
Brook's direction is also lacking; in trying to open the action up on screen, it looks somewhat forced and off balance. This is still a good film, all things considered and the fact that it's a rare filming of this work.
So in the end we give it a grade of B, and hope a better version will subsequently be made.
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