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Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood (Special Collector’s Edition)

Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole, Elizabeth Taylor. An endearing story of life and love in a small Welsh fishing town. 1971/color/88 min/PG/fullscreen. Under Milk Wood is an imaginative, cinematic rendering of Dylan Thomas’s famous “play for voices,” typically read on stage by a handful of actors expressing the dialogue of more than 50 characters living in a small, Welsh fishing village. Filmmaker Andrew Sinclair sets the story in a real seaside community and visually complements the text’s lengthy, opening narration by enlisting Richard Burton both for his brooding voiceover and a mysterious, on-screen role as a drunken gadabout soaking in the very soul of the town Thomas’ words describe. Once the narration ends, the film breathes freely with a succession of lively vignettes, some funny, some dramatic, but all rooted in the peculiar circumstances of characters who either feel trapped by or ensconced in their home. Peter O’Toole plays the wizened, blind Captain Cat, haunted by memories of drowned sailors but so attuned to the sounds of village life outside his window he can identify the children screaming in a park. Elizabeth Taylor (Burton’s wife at the time) makes a brief appearance as Rosie Probert, and the other players include Glynis Johns, Vivien Merchant, and Victor Spinetti. –Tom Keogh

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H. F. Corbin "Foster Corbin" says:

Our Town This film adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ wonderful “Under Milkwood” has dozens of characters, the most famous of whom are Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Peter O’Toole– one of the problems with this production. There are simply too many characters to keep up with. The other problem is that the Welsh accents are difficult to understand. The play works better when performed on stage with a few characters reading several parts. On the other hand, the photography of the village and seacost is…

BAW "BAW" says:

Bad idea well executed. I own this on videotape, but will not, probably, be getting the DVD.UNDER MILKWOOD is a play for voices, originially written for radio, and frequently done as a readers’ theater piece by college and community groups. (By doubling parts one can do it with a fairly small cast, and the constumes, scenery, and props are minimal.)Why then, would one even consider doing it as a film, that most visual of media? A videorecording of a proper readers’ theater production might…

John Gough "John Gough - Deakin University" says:

A Dylan Thomas Near-Miss I have been reading Dylan Thomas, poems, stories, recollections, and “Under Milkwood” since I was a teenager, in the mid-1960s. (“Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog”, and “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” are outstanding, as poetic prose.)I saw this film when it was first released in Australia, and half-liked it.I watched it again, nearly forty years later, last night.It is more likeable, in my old age, but, like the parson’s egg (alluding to a classic cartoon-image in the…

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