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Monday, September 15, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 48.0° F  Fair
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The Beggar's Opera
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A real treat: director Peter Brook's and playwright Christopher Fry's adaptation of John Gay's "Newgate Pastoral," The Beggar's Opera - source material for Brecht and Weill's The Threepenny Opera, and the classic of popular balladry and humorous social irreverence that drove Handelian opera from the British stage. Here, Laurence Olivier plays the dashing thief Macheath (and sings all his own numbers); it's one of his finest comic performances on film. Brook's direction - he was the enfant terrible of British theater at the time - is full of invention and felicity. It's incredible that the film was a critical and commercial failure in its time.
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