Claire Bloom has had a long and full career, both on the stage and on
the screen. Though she's played many roles, she's best known for
her performances in Shakespeare's plays. Shakespeare's Women & Claire
Bloom is an hour long film looks at this talented actress and the way she
approached the Bard's plays. The film is successful in conveying
the actress' love of Shakespeare, but doesn't offer much more.
Claire Bloom was a young ingenue when Charlie Chaplin cast her as the
female lead in Limelight, a part that turned her into an international
star. She went on to play in many films and TV shows, as well as
acting on stage. She received rave reviews for her roles in Shakespeare's
plays, and even played Lady Anne in Laurence Olivier's film Richard III.
This documentary consists of a conversation with the accomplished actress
about the various women in Shakespeare's plays. As such, this really
isn't about Claire Bloom, as it is about her thoughts on Shakespeare.
Told through interviews, film clips and solo performances apparently
made for this show, this is a good introduction to the analysis of the
Bard's female characters and their motivations. It succeeds in that
regard, and also shows Bloom's love of Shakespeare's plays. Her analysis
of the parts were very concise and perceptive, and was the high point of
Unfortunately I was hoping for a little bit more. The synopsis
of a play in a few sentences followed by Blooms recitation of a soliloquy
didn't really engage me as much as I was hoping. I would have preferred
to have more points of view instead of just Bloom's. The show also
assumes that the viewer has a bit of a familiarity with Shakespeare and
Another flaw was the use of so many solo readings. At one point
Bloom laments having to give solo performances because she has no one to
play off of, and that much of Shakespeare's charm comes from the interaction
of the characters. Yet in the performances she gives, she's all alone.
It would have been a stronger show if they followed her advice and let
her act with another actor.
As a film, the direction was rather uninspired. The production
was filled with Bloom's talking head, she's the only one interviewed, and
standard medium shots when she recites her lines. It comes across
as a typical made for TV special that was done without a lot of thought
The English two channel audio is suitable for the program. The
actresses voice is reproduced with strength and clarity. The range
is about average, with some of the music sounding a bit flat. Some
of the vintage film clips have audio defects, but the contemporary film
is free of hiss and dropouts.
The full frame image is adequate but not outstanding. The colors
are bright but details disappear in dark areas. Bloom wears a black
dress during some of her readings and it has a tendency to blend into the
curtain in the background. Aside from that, the picture looks fine
with no digital defects worth mentioning.
The only extras on this disc were a text biography of Claire Bloom and
a filmography for the actress.
I can't see a lot of replay value in this documentary. It was
interesting watching it once, but I don't think I'll be plugging it into
my player any time soon. Claire Bloom is a wonderful actress who
has a deep love of Shakespeare and his work, but the program never really
got me as excited as Bloom was. If you're a fan of the Bard's, it
might be worth a viewing. Rent it.