Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Henry V (1953)

TitleHenry V
Release LocationsGB
Length1 hrs, 30 mins
Play ConnectionsHenry V (teleplay)


A less ambitious production than the 1951 Royston Morley Life of Henry V and indeed it was received by audiences less favorably. The BBC Research Report for that week showed that 36% of the adult viewing public watched it, but their responses added up to a "Reaction Index" of only 52, as compared with 71 for Morley's 1951 Life of H5 (WAC T5/232/2, 8 June 1953). One reason for its lukewarm reception may have been the highbrow posturings of the players, mostly British university students led by John Barton, who believed in doing the plays "as they had been done in Shakespeare's own day" without scenery or costumes, to speak of. In a flyer, the "Elizabethan Theatre Company," as they called themselves, described how they took Shakespeare's Chorus literally when he urged "into a thousand parts divide one man." With that mandate in mind, they undertook the most rigorous doubling and tripling of roles imaginable. For example, Jocelyn Page took on the unlikely combination of Hostess Quickly and Queen Isabel, while Clifford Rose tried his hand at being French Ambassador, Governor of Harfleur, Salisbury and good Sir Thomas Erpingham

Description from Shakespeare on Screen : an International Filmography and Videography by Kenneth S. Rothwell and Annabelle Henkin Melzer. ©1990 Kenneth S. Rothwell. Cited by permission. — Added 2008-11-14

Cast Overview

AliceYvonne Bonnamy
Canterbury, Dauphin, WarwickMichael David
BoyKeith Faulkner
Henry VColin George
Westmoreland, FluellenGordon Gostelow
ConstablePeter Jeffrey
Bardolph, Orleans, GloucesterWilliam Lawford
Bates, Soldier, HeraldRoger Milner
Hostess, Queen IsabelJocelyne Page
Ely, Gower, YorkToby Robertson
Ambassador, Gov. Of Harfleur, Salisbury, ErpinghamClifford Rose
ExeterJames Roughead
Nym, RamburesReginald Selou
KatherineBernadette Sorel
King Charles VI, MontjoyJohn Southworth
GrandpreTrenor Stanley
Pistol, WilliamsFrank Windsor

Production Team and Crew Overview

ProducerJohn Barton
ProducerMichael MacOwan
Stage ManagerCecil Petty
ProductionReece Pemberton

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell