A Midwinter's Tale

A Midwinter's Tale

Director: Kenneth Branagh Cast: Michael Maloney, Richard Briers, Mark Hadfield

DVD (Wide Screen / B&W)

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When his professional career hits a lull, an actor attempts to revitalize his career by staging a production of Hamlet, directed by and starring himself. Director and star Kenneth Branagh would in fact release his own film version of Shakespeare's classic play a year later, but this comedy provides his fictional counterpart with far less in terms of production value. Lacking money and time, he recruits a rather motley group of drunks, incompetents, and oddballs, including a middle-aged female impersonator in the crucial role of Queen Gertrude. Given only three weeks of rehearsal, and an abandoned church in a remote town in the English countryside, this unlikely group nevertheless struggles valiantly to make theatrical magic. The film attempts to pay loving tribute to the madness that surrounds the staging of a play, with all of the backstage dramas, inevitable disasters, and unexpected triumphs, but the end result is often less amusing than it ought to be. The film was released in the United States under the title A Midwinter's Tale.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/07/2010
UPC: 0883316307038
Original Release: 1995
Rating: R
Source: Warner Archives
Presentation: [B&W, Wide Screen]
Time: 1:38:00
Sales rank: 10,919

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michael Maloney Joe Harper (Hamlet)
Richard Briers Henry Wakefield (Claudius, the Ghost, and the Player
Mark Hadfield Vernon Spatch (Polonius, Marcellus, and First Gravedi
Nicholas Farrell Tom Newman (Laertes, Fortinbras, and messengers)
Gerard Horan Carnforth Grevilly
John Sessions Terry Du Bois (Queen Gertrude)
Hetta Charnley Molly
Joan Collins Margaretta D'Arcy
Celia Imrie Fadge
Jennifer Saunders Nancy Crawford
Julia Sawalha Nina Raymond (Ophelia)
Robert Hines Mortimer
Allie Byrne Tap Dancer
Brian Pettifer Ventriloquist
Patrick Doyle Scotsman
Shaun Prendergast Mule Train Man

Technical Credits
Kenneth Branagh Director,Screenwriter
David Barron Producer
Neil Farrell Editor
Peter Glossop Musical Direction/Supervision
Caroline Harris Costumes/Costume Designer
Tim Harvey Production Designer
Roger Lanser Cinematographer
Simon Moseley Asst. Director
Jenny Shircore Makeup
Jimmy Yuill Score Composer,Songwriter

Customer Reviews

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A Midwinter's Tale 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film was produced, so rumor has it, as film actor Kenneth Brennagh's flip side reaction to the stresses of making his own uncut big-ticket version of Hamlet. In A Midwinter's Tale a struggling actor, Joe, attempts to redeem himself and his art by producing Hamlet over the Christmas Holidays as a fund raiser to try to save an old church. Unfortunately, the only actors he can get run the gamut of emotional and personal problems, some of whom work them out using the rehearsal process! What Joe's cast of ''misfits and nutters'' finally manage to accomplish by the end of the film defies description. Interestingly, Brennagh made the decision to film it in black and white, which gives the film the feel of an older melodrama, rather than a modern movie. It is well acted, certainly over played in parts, but to my way of thinking, that is the entire point of the movie. A Midwinter's Tale is a movie for actors and those who love theatre. I have shown it to a number of friends who are not theatre techs, like I am, and they frankly, snoozed right through it. Nevertheless, it is funny and charming, a wonderfully realistic look at the wierd, often blackly comic reality behind putting on a theatre production. It has poignant moments that are sweet and touching and as well is a great blend of lowbrow humor and erudite cosmic questioning. If you enjoy British comedy and/or theatre, you'll probably enjoy this one too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Midwinter's Tale by Kenneth Branagh is an excellent film regarding what happens backstage during rehearsals for a show. Having grown up in Children's Theatre, I looked on with delight at visiting ''old'' friends. Most of the actors in the film have were in Henry V or have appeared on British TV. I strongly encourage people to rent this film.