Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Measure for Measure (1978, Desmond Davis)

TitleMeasure for Measure
Release LocationsGB
DirectorDesmond Davis
MediumColor video
Length2 hrs, 30 mins
Audiencecollege and university
general public
Play ConnectionsMeasure for Measure (teleplay)
SeriesThe Shakespeare Plays


Desmond Davis' Measure for Measure proved to be the runaway favorite of the audience for the first year of "The Shakespeare Plays" series on North American PBS stations. In view of the play's relative obscurity that was surprising in one way but totally predictable in another. The director was not working in the shadow of past cinematic behemoths, such as Olivier's Henry V or Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet. Davis also grabbed every chance to make the production fit the small screen of television. His Measure for Measure identifies with, though in more subtle and complex ways, the ethical dilemmas and emotional roller coasters of the daytime soaps. Add to that, brilliant lighting, superbly designed sets, fine acting by Kate Nelligan and Tim Pigott-Smith, and success was inevitable

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

DukeKenneth Colley
AngeloTim Pigott-Smith
EscalusKevin Stoney
ClaudioChristopher Strauli
IsabellaKate Nelligan
JulietYolande Palfrey
MarianaJacqueline Pearce
LucioJohn McEnery
ProvostAlun Armstrong
Second GentlemanJohn Abbott
First GentlemanAlan Tucker
Friar ThomasGodfrey Jackman
JusticeDavid Browning
ElbowEllis Jones
FrothJohn Clegg
OverdoneAdrienne Corri
PompeyFrank Middlemass
AbhorsonNeil McCarthy
BarnardineWilliam Sleigh
FranciscaEileen Page
ServantGeoffrey Cousins
CastTony Friel
CastHarry Jones
CastDavid Lassman
CastJohn Sarbutt
PageboysNicholas Tudor

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorDesmond Davis
ProducerCedric Messina
ComposerDavid Lloyd-Jones
ComposerJames Tyler
Adaptor/TranslatorAlan Shallcross
CostumesOdette Barrow
LightingSam Barclay
ProductionStuart Walker

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell