The Beggar's Opera

Screening on Film
Directed by Peter Brook.
With Laurence Olivier, Dorothy Tutin, Stanley Holloway.
UK, 1953, 35mm, color, 94 min.

This rarely revived screen rendition of John Gay’s scandalous, immensely popular eighteenth-century musical drama remains faithful to the author’s operatic vision of London’s subterranean world of highwaymen and pickpockets. In a rare singing performance, Laurence Olivier stars as the legendary womanizing scoundrel, MacHeath. The film is helmed by visionary British theater director Peter Brook (Marat/Sade) and features original music by Sir Arthur Bliss.

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Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: A–Z