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Tartuffe (1978) HD online

Tartuffe (1978) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Comedy
Original Title: Tartuffe
Director: Kirk Browning,Stephen Porter
Writers: Molière,Richard Wilbur
Released: 1978
Duration: 1h 54min
Video type: Movie
Cast overview:
Hal Holbrook Hal Holbrook - Himself - Host
Ruth Livingston Ruth Livingston - Flipote
Patricia Elliott Patricia Elliott - Dorine
Geraldine Fitzgerald Geraldine Fitzgerald - Madame Pernelle
Tammy Grimes Tammy Grimes - Elmire
Ray Wise Ray Wise - Damis
Johanna Leister Johanna Leister - Mariane
Peter Coffield Peter Coffield - Cleante
Stefan Gierasch Stefan Gierasch - Orgon
Victor Garber Victor Garber - Valere
Donald Moffat Donald Moffat - Tartuffe
Roy Brocksmith Roy Brocksmith - Monsieur Loyal
Jim Broaddus Jim Broaddus - Officer
Gene O'Neill Gene O'Neill - Deputy

This production of "Tartuffe" was first staged at the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York in 1977, with most of the same cast; however, the roles of Tartuffe and Marianne were played respectively in the 1977 stage production by John Wood and Swoosie Kurtz, and that of Mme. Pernelle by Mildred Dunnock.

The video and DVD list this as running 130 minutes; however, this is not correct.

The stage production of this version received a Tony Award nomination in 1978 for Most Innovative Production of a play.

Tammy Grimes and Patricia Elliott both received Drama Desk Award nominations for their performances when this production played on Broadway.

Reviews: [2]

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    This is an excellent adaptation for the small screen of Molière's farce, with a fine cast headed by Donald Moffat in the title role, Tammy Grimes as the female lead and a young Victor Garber as one of the juveniles.

    Director Kirk Browning, a specialist in presenting theater on the small screen, keeps up visual interest by careful, slow-paced cuts and judicious, small camera movement to force the viewer's attention. The farce is funny, serious parts clear and if the ending is a *deus ex machina*, it was just the sort of ending to appeal to Molière's patron, the King of France.

    Moliere's satires are the glories of the French theater -- particularly if, like I, you have little taste for the solemn bombast of Racine. Here, his target is hypocrisy and the ability of scoundrels to hoodwink the well-meaning. At its premiere it provoked a firestorm of rancor from those who felt it mocked the Roman Catholic Church. Had it been done today, it might have been written with Tartuffe as a televangelist. Indeed, the point could have been made clear by doing it in a modern dress version. Browning and associates, however, decided to avoid cries of outrage by presenting it in period. Wiser, perhaps, than Moliere.
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    Tartuffe, written by the 17th-century playwright Moliere who lived under the patronage of King Louis XIV, is as relevant today as it was in the 1600's. After its premiere in 1664, it was attacked by French Catholic fanatics who interpreted the play as a criticism against the Roman Catholic Church, which was already reeling from the Protestant Reformation during the 16th century. Louis XIV and the general French public admired it, but the king did, for a time, suppress the play because of pressure from these aristocratic Catholics. However, despite the censorship, Tartuffe has become a standard in the theatrical repertoire and regarded as a masterpiece of political and religious commentary, as daring as any of the plays by William Shakespeare.

    Ironically, Tartuffe does not propagate against religious belief and/or practice, but it does put into question religious fanaticism and blind loyalty, hence its relevance today as 350 years ago. Briefly, the story concerns a wealthy lord named Orgon who has taken into his house a kind of ascetic wanderer named Tartuffe. Tartuffe preaches religious piety and gratitude daily to Orgon, who has become enthralled and rather mesmerized by this man who was homeless before the lord of the house opened his doors to him. When anyone questions Tartuffe's motives, Orgon is the first to defend the man he regards as his spiritual adviser. But as the play unfolds, we learn that Tartuffe has ulterior motives that cast a shadow of doubt upon his supposedly religious humility, pious wisdom, and unselfish devotion. Despite its rather serious subject, humor permeates all through Tartuffe rendering it a masterful theatrical blend of comedy and drama from start to finish. In other words, there is never a dull moment until the climax when all is revealed.

    The TV-movie in question, which has the look and feel of a 17th-century play rather than a movie, is an excellent English-language rendition of probably Moliere's most famous play. Of course, the standout is Donald Moffat as Tartuffe who gives a tour-de-force performance as the wily and unpredictable Tartuffe, who can discourse himself out of almost any situation. The rest of the cast is equally superb, with a very subtle and interesting performance by Tammy Grimes as Orgon's wife Elmire who begins to see through Tartuffe's charade. And look for the very young Victor Garber (of Godspell and Titanic fame) as the young suitor Valere. All around a breath of fresh air, considering the cookie-cutter output of most of Hollywood today. The film would also make terrific viewing followed by discussion for young people.