Al Pacino’s first filmed brush with Shakespeare was this part adaptation of Richard III, and part documentary on the significance of Shakespeare’s live and works.
He himself plays Richard (and in the few scenes he chooses to play, is impressive). Other excellent readings come from (surprisingly) Alec Baldwin as Clarence, Kevin Spacey as Buckingham, and Estelle Parsons as Queen Margaret. Winona Ryder plays Lady Anne (but I think her voice was dubbed by Kate Burton?).
The scenes from the play are done in costume and in a straightforward manner. The choices are good – introspective points and high drama for each character.
The documentary bits take two routes – interviews with leading Shakespearians such as John Gielgud and Kenneth Branagh; and Al’s own journey to Shakespeare country in Stratford-upon-Avon, to Shakespeare’s house and beyond.
What comes across is true devotion to the subject, and infectious interest from what was (at the time) an unexpected source. Very good piece of work and well worth your time – when is Al Pacino going to play Richard III on screen for real?