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Saturday, June 7, 2008

TEMPEST (1982)

In a modern ‘take’ on THE TEMPEST, Paul Mazursky can’t come up with thematic, narrative or emotional equivalents that do any sort of justice to Shakespeare’s gorgeous original material. Reimagining the unjust banishment of Prospero as a mid-life crisis for a famous Greek/American architect is, at best, inadequate if not insulting. And by using the malevolent force of John Cassevettes, in what was surprisingly his very first attempt to carry a mainstream film in the leading role, Mazursky just adds injury to insult. Yet, so many charming and memorable moments pop up along the way that you can see (just) how tempting the original idea was and how it might have been developed. Gena Rowlands always sounds gin-soaked to these ears, but the rest of the cast is fine, especially debuting Molly Ringwald who makes a marvelous Miranda. When she, Susan Sarandon & Raul Julia do one of the frequent musical turns, the film opens up to us. For more film adaptations of THE TEMPEST you might want to try it with sci-fi trimmings in FORBIDDEN PLANET/’56, Western-style in YELLOW SKY/’48 or experimental in PROSPERO’S BOOKS/’91. Hey, here's an idea; could someone please have a go at Shakespeare 's THE TEMPEST?!

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