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[Perspectives] Bad reputation

Every generation has its favourite William Shakespeare play. The Victorians were fans of the now rarely revived King John—the earliest known piece of Shakespeare on film is a short silent movie of the death scene from 1899, with Herbert Beerbohm Tree in the title role. By contrast, recent months have seen something of a craze for Richard III. The BBC’s adaptation starring Benedict Cumberbatch was broadcast in the UK in May; Richard Loncraine’s sharp-edged and undervalued 1995 film with Ian McKellen has at last been restored and released by the British Film Institute; and now Rupert Goold directs Ralph Fiennes in a new stage production (video) at the Almeida Theatre in London, with a live cinema broadcast on July 21.