Merchant of Venice Film Analysis

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English 101-210
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Battle of the Directors The Merchant of Venice, also known as “The Jew of Venice” is a drama play originally written by William Shakespeare in 1598. The major conflict occurs when a man named Antonio (Venetian merchant) fails to pay off a loan to a greedy Jewish money loaner known as Shylock who demands a pound of flesh from Antonio in return. Antonio and his friends take a journey through friendship, love, and hatred in an attempt to free him of his pound of flesh fate induced by Shylock. Imagine yourself sitting in the master minds of directors Michael Radford and John Sichel while they are directing their adaptations of the play. Imagine experiencing their unique ideas first hand looking through their eyes and listening to their silent thoughts. You ask yourself how so many ideas run through their minds and what their intents are; is one director more creative than the other? In this essay I will take you on an adventure of my interpretation of two scenes that will show you how Sichel’s directing is more effective than Radford’s. There are a couple of different versions of this movie but two of the directors approach the same two scenes from the film “The Merchant of Venice” in an extremely different perspective. John Sichel’s version of “The Merchant of Venice” was created in 1973; major characters are Shylock (Laurence Oliver), Portia (Joan Plowright), Bassanio (Jeremy Brett), and Antonio (Anthony Nicholls) (“The Merchant of Venice” (TV 1973)). In 2004 director Michael Radford produced his adaptation of this film starring Al Pacino (Shylock), Jeremy Irons (Antonio), Lynn Collins (Portia), and Joseph Fiennes as Bassanio (“The Merchant of Venice” (2004). Sichel and Radford present their scenes in different way which makes the character’s personality appear different. The choices Sichel makes when directing his film seem to make his characters more empowered. Radford’s decisions support his characters but have less of an



Bibliography: "The Merchant of Venice (TV 1973) - IMDb." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 28 Nov. 2010. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070386/>. "The Merchant of Venice (2004) - IMDb." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 28 Nov. 2010. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379889/>. "YouTube - The Merchant of Venice - 2004 R; (lektor) - Part 10/10 - Al Pacino: Http://alpacino333.pl.tl." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 07 Dec. 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXZbpnHUgHY&feature=fvw>. "YouTube - The Merchant of Venice (1973). Part 4 of 14." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 07 Dec. 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmDKgc-VHpE&feature=related>. "YouTube - The Merchant of Venice (1973). Part 13 of 14." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 07 Dec. 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KePY9rjpS7E&feature=related>. "YouTube - The Merchant of Venice - 2004 R; (lektor) - Part 3/10 - Al Pacino: Http://alpacino333.pl.tl." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 07 Dec. 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds-VdQIhCJU&feature=related>.

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