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The Duchess of Malfi [1972] - Part 1

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Uploaded on May 15, 2010

John Webster's "The Duchess of Malfi" is a chilling tale of jealousy, madness, and murder.

After the death of her first husband, a young and wealthy Duchess secretly marries another man below her rank. However, with the help of a morally-confused "intelligencer" named Bosola, the Duchess' transgression is soon discovered, leaving her at the mercy of her corrupt, possessive and unbalanced brothers. As her dangerous siblings seek their revenge, intrigue, plot-twists, madness, poisonings, accidental stabbings, incest, werewolves, ghosts and severed limbs abound, eventually leading to the gruesome and unrelenting downfall of the entire family and all who had been influenced by their actions.




Arguably the most popular of the Jacobean tragedies, "The Duchess of Malfi" is a provocative tale of love, power, obsession, and madness.

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Cast:

Eileen Atkins - The Duchess
Michael Bryant - Daniel de Bosola
Charles Kay - Ferdinand, Duke of Calabria
T.P. McKenna - The Cardinal
Gary Bond - Antonio Bologna
Jean Gilpin - Julia
Jerome Willis - Delio
Sheila Ballantine - Cariola
Tim Curry - a madman


directed by James MacTaggart

Produced for television by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), released October 10th, 1972 (c)

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"The Duchess of Malfi" is a meditation on power--political, religious, and sexual--and presents a bleak, violent, and fascinating world couched in some of the most beautiful language ever put on the stage. The Duchess of Malfi's description of a world bereft of moral values on its highest levels fascinates and scandalises us to this day.

A macabre, tragic play, John Webster's "The Duchess of Malfi" was written in 161213. It was first performed privately at the Blackfriars Theatre, then before a more general audience at The Globe, in 1613-14. Published for the first time in 1623, the play is loosely based on true events that occurred between about 1508 and 1513, recounted in William Painter's The Palace of Pleasure (1567). The Duchess was Giovanna d'Aragona, whose father, Arrigo d'Aragona, Marquis of Gerace, was an illegitimate son of Ferdinand I of Naples. Her husbands were Alfonso Piccolomini, Duke of Amalfi, and (as in the play) Antonio Bologna.

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