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LD Music Video MARAT SADE 1966 Royal Shakespeare Playright Adaptation Laserdisc [LVD8915]

LD Music Video MARAT SADE 1966 Royal Shakespeare Playright Adaptation Laserdisc [LVD8915]

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Laserdisc Title: "MARAT SADE"
Edition: Fullscreen Edition (Single Disc)
Directed By: Peter Brooks
Starring: Glenda Jackson, Patrick Magee, Ian Richardson
Production / Year: 1966 Marat Sade Production
Running Time: 116 Minutes / Color
Audio Format: Digital Sound, CX Encoded
Video Format: NTSC, CLV (Extended Play)
Miscellaneous Features: Not Rated
Distributed By: Luminivision
Catalog / Spine Number: LVD8915

IMPORTANT: This is a 12-inch Diameter Laserdisc, which is NOT the same as DVD and cannot be played on a DVD player!

Cosmetic Condition:
Disc (s): Excellent - Hardly noticeable to very minor hairline surface swirls, if any
Jacket: Very Good - Normal shelf wear, few creases, slightly worn-out corners or edges and small split middle of bottom spine


In 1964, German playwright Peter Weiss wowed the international theater scene with his Berlin production of The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade. An instant sensation, the play caught the attention of iconic theater director Peter Brook, whose own stage production captivated audiences in New York the next year. Brook then filmed his production in 1966, and the resulting movie, Marat/Sade, stands as one of the best-loved screen adaptations of a play, by both critics and theater fans alike. (The 1996 film Quills is a good example of the story's lasting resonance.) As can be surmised by the play's original title, the action focuses on the Marquis de Sade (Patrick Magee) circa 1808, who, while imprisoned at Charenton Asylum, writes and directs a play starring his fellow inmates. Dramatizing the final hours of French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat (Ian Richardson) before he was killed by Charlotte Corday (Glenda Jackson, in one of the defining moments of her career), de Sade offers the play as an entertaining whim for the tiny audience of asylum director Coulmier (Clifford Rose) and his family. Utilizing the "theatre of cruelty" theory of avant-garde pioneer Antonin Artaud--once an asylum inmate himself--Brook's presentation of Marat/Sade confronts with jagged language, sounds and visuals, in an attempt to shock the movie audience into dissatisfaction and action against the status quo, mirroring the way de Sade's play within the film stirs the asylum inmates to high dudgeon and revolution.

This movie is actually a filmed version of a play and this is obvious in the viewing; the director doesn't make use of all the potential of the medium, it's filmed all in one take (just as a play goes from start to finish in one go), and the scene transitions are abrupt and poor.

That being said, this film deserves no other criticism; it is certainly the finest I've ever seen and, I would argue, a great movie in the English cinema. What makes it deserve such praise is that the acting is all very convincing and compelling, the costumes and staging are sublime and the script is, simply put, brilliant. The original title of the work functions as an apt summary: "The assassination and persecution of Jean-Paul Marat as performed by the inmates of the asylum at Charenton under the direction of the Marquis de Sade." Set in the Napoleonic era eighteen years after the French Revolution, the Marquis (imprisoned for both political and sex crimes) directs the mentally ill inmates in a stylized recreation of the murder of Jean-Paul Marat (a rabid Jacobin, confined to his bathtub by a skin disease, who wrote the most sanguinary Revolutionary propaganda) by Charlotte Corday (from a noble background, but actually a partisan of the Girondin Revolutionaries who had been purged by Marat's party). This is a highly cerebral play and, although the scrip (a translation of Peter Wiess' play) takes a very few liberties with the historical facts, a knowledge of the Revolution greatly helps in understanding and appreciating this sometimes obscure movie. There are real intellectual pyrotechnics in the debates between Marat and de Sade, and the Marat's monologues are filled with fine revolutionary polemics. Corday is very well played, and her scenes are some of the most emotionally intense. The brilliant script, which doesn't shrink from tackling great Ideas, combined with the great execution make this a superb movie. Or rather film.


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