Laurence Olivier was a man of the theater, but thankfully, his gift for Shakespeare extended to the screen. More so than his Hamlet, Henry V, or Othello, Olivier's spidery Richard shuttling around with a black pageboy haircut and sleeves dangling to his knees revels in his eloquence yet remains deliciously wicked. Delivering his soliloquies to the camera, in Richard III he makes us confederates on Richard's march to the crown; as a result, most of the other actors come off as solid but bland. To make his confection work, Olivier the director edits heavily: The film begins with a scene from Henry VI, Part 3, and John Gielgud's Clarence is essentially reduced to a cameo. (Look for Michael Gough, future Batman butler Alfred, as a hired killer.)
EXTRAS Along with still photos and trailers, disc 2 boasts a 1966 BBC interview in which Olivier chats about the Bard. For example, Othello and Titus Andronicus are harder roles than Macbeth, he says, because ''they're complaining all the time.''