Prospero's Books ★★★ 1991 (R)
Greenaway's freeranging adaptation of Shakespeare's “The Tempest” has all his usual hallmarks of the bizarre. Gielgud is the aged Propsero, exiled to a magical island with his innocent daughter Miranda, and 24 beloved books containing the magician's recipe for life, each of which becomes a separate chapter in the film. Greenaway mixes film and highdefinition video to create, with cinematographer Sacha Vierny, dazzling visuals that threaten to overwhelm but don't quite, thanks to both Greenaway's skill and the astonishing performance of the then 87yearold Gielgud. 129m/C VHS . John Gielgud, Michel Blanc, Erland Josephson, Isabelle Pasco, Tom Bell, Kenneth Cranham, Michael Clark, Mark Rylance; D: Peter Greenaway; W: Peter Greenaway; C: Sacha Vierny; M: Michael Nyman.