Tempest [1982]

Director: Paul Mazursky
Stars: John Cassavetes, Gena Rowlands, Susan Sarandon, Molly Ringwald, Vittorio Gassman
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 140 minutes

Like other volumes in the Plays of William Shakespeare series, this production of The Tempest is stripped of interpretive artistry and presented with strict fidelity to the play. This can be frustrating, since the cast is burdened with a textbook approach to authentic presentation, drawing scant inspiration from moodless lighting and low-budget stage design. What matters, though, is the play itself, and the best performances, including an engaging turn by Efram Zimbalist Jr. as Prospero, do adequate justice to Shakespeare's tale of love and sorcery among island castaways. As Caliban, William Hootkins provides bluster aplenty, and Duane Black makes a mischievous Ariel. Other players are less fortunate (as Trinculo, Ron Palillo can't shake his persona from TV's Welcome Back, Kotter), and the technical quality of this series leaves much to be desired. Consider this a suitable introduction, offering a flavorful taste of The Tempest but not its fullest essence. --Jeff Shannon

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