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Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift
Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift
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Maggie Smith At The BBC - Suddenly Last Summer
Maggie Smith At The BBC - Suddenly Last Summer


Dir.: Alan Bennett, Cedric Messina, Giles Foster, Peter Wood, Richard Eyre
Cast: Maggie Smith
Genre: Drama


This three-disc set celebrates four of Dame Maggie Smith's leading roles for the BBC. The collection begins with two 1972 "Plays of the Month", "The Merchant of Venice" and "The Millionairess". In Shakespeare's morality tale, Smith's sharp-tongued socialite Portia disguises herself as a doctor to negotiate with money lender Shylock (Frank Finlay), in the process uttering the immortal line, "The quality of mercy is not strained." In the Bernard Shaw comedy, she plays self-centered heiress Epifania who tries to live like a pauper to please a selfless Egyptian physician ("Dr. Who"'s Tom Baker). The latter production, presented in a more cinematic style, offers a fine showcase for Smith's flavorful line readings. In Alan Bennett's quietly devastating "Bed Among the Lentils", one of his Talking Heads monologues, Smith portrays Susan, a deeply disillusioned vicar's wife, and in Sir Richard Eyre's intimate 1993 adaptation of Tennessee Williams's "Suddenly, Last Summer", she takes on Mrs. Venable, a grief-stricken mother (a role assumed by Katharine Hepburn in the 1959 film). Rob Lowe, Richard E. Grant, and especially Natasha Richardson, as Venable's niece Catherine, contribute strong work to this "Great Performances" production. For some fans, the supplements may surpass the features. They include a breezy 1973 chat with Norman Parkinson and "Acting in the '60s", a candid 1967 conversation with Richard Goodwin and narration by Kenneth Tynan, who refers to the actress as "the most versatile girl on the English stage." Actor Kenneth Williams participates in both. Smith also appears in a radio version of "The Country Wife", while "A Portrait: Maggie Smith", an exclusive profile, offers commentary from Bennett, Eyre, and "A Room with a View" co-star Simon Callow. The viewing notes include an essay on her career and details about each production. This BBC set presents a worthy tribute to a tremendous talent. "--Kathleen C. Fennessy"

Year: 1972
Availability: DVD


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