A film musical in which every line is sung. The frame is about workers during a strike. They also prepare and perform a demonstration. Two personal relations develop against this background... See full summary »
A fictional account of the real life, eleven day, never explained 1926 disappearance of famed murder mystery writer Agatha Christie is presented. On a cold winter day, her damaged car with ... See full summary »
Documentary film-maker Bob Sanders and his wife Carol attend a group therapy session that serves as the backdrop for the opening scenes of the film. Returning to their Los Angeles home, the... See full summary »
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 sad fact about "The Beggar's Opera" is that it wasn't directed by Powell and Pressburger. If this had been the case it would no doubt be lauded today as an eccentric masterpiece. It shared the same fate of critical disdain in its time as "Gone to Earth" and "The Elusive Pimpernel" but, unlike these, has still to await an appreciative resurrection. Could it be that it was made by the comparatively little known Peter Brook! And yet with its colourful visual flair and sometimes breathtaking sense of movement it seems right out of the same stable as "The Tales of Hoffmann" and "Oh Rosalinda!". A wonderfully imaginative shot of the landscape viewed from the scaffold gradually blacked out as the prisoner's blindfold is lowered over MacHeath's eyes is perhaps the best example of its inventiveness. For the musical purist it is inevitably something of a curiosity. A fine cast of contemporary singers including Adele Leigh, Jennifer Vyvyan and Edith Coates were assembled to dub the acting cast for the musical numbers, whereas the main role of MacHeath was sung by Laurence Oliver himself, his light baritone voice, although no match for the others, at least serviceable. But, as it works perfectly well, why quibble. (I have little time for those who criticised the "amateur" voices of Woody Allen's delicious musical "Everyone Says I Love You" as they so matched the characters and were not in the least, as has been suggested, unmusical). I watched "The Beggar's Opera" again the other day after a gap of over 50 years and found it just as refreshing. One of the reasons is that many of the tunes are terrific and not one of them goes on for too long. Generally I have to confess that I have little time for filmed musicals. I invariably want the songs to be got over as quickly as possible in order to get on with the action, which I know completely misses the point. With "The Beggar's Opera" I find the reverse to be true, just about resisting the temptation to fast-forward the dialogue to get to the next "tune". Sir Arthur Bliss did a wonderful job of arranging the music specially for the film version although it has to be admitted that the sound quality of the copy transmitted on Sky's Artsworld channel was often muddy and unclear. Would that the soundtrack could be remastered!
14 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?