Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Remembering Vincent Price as the King in the Car Park - Richard III

Following the history-making announcement this week of the exhumation of Richard III by the University of Leicester, I thought it timely to recall Vincent Price’s two cinematic roles as the last king of the Plantagenets, who was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485. 

In 1962’s Tower of London, which was inspired by Shakespeare’s classic play and the 1939 period romp starring Basil Rathbone as the evil-minded Richard, Price brought an air of macabre malevolence to Roger Corman’s B-movie. Though stagey, with costumes and sets that look right out of panto, the film is still fun to watch – mainly for Price chewing the scenery, especially his hysterical death scene.

In 1973’s Theatre of Blood, Price played much-maligned Shakespearean actor Edward Lionheart, who was out for revenge against the critics who issued poisonous barbs against his hammy renditions of the Bard’s plays. One of which was Richard III, in which Price sends up Lawrence Olivier’s 1955 portrayal of the crook-back king in a scene that recalls Price’s appearance in 1939’s Tower of London, in which his character, the Duke of Clarence, is drowned in a butt of malmsey. Wow! I need a tipple myself after writing that sentence.

• For more information about the archaeological findings of the real king, check out the Leicester University website; and, if you are a UK resident, you can watch the Channel 4 documentary Richard III: King in the Car Park on the 4oD service. Below are a couple of clips of Price as Richard III.



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