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Maverick's Rib

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Casanova Masterpiece Theatre

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Peter O'Toole will be remembered as a wry satirical dramatist. He handled drama and farce with equal aplomb, but if you enjoy retrospective segue-ways, take another look at the 2005 television biopic Casanova, where O'Toole reprises the role of the legendary Italian womanizer, bracketing the outer narrative framework for David Tennant's more arduous job of inhabiting two legends at once.

Tennant is duly overwhelmed with a certain texture of self-conscious stricture in his role as young Giacomo young O'Toole mimic who single-handedly marries hedonism to Enlightenment era Europe, but recites his dialogue with enough energy not to detract from the sparkle and zest of the viewer's delight of window shopping in a bygone decorous age, not so exotic that the audience doesn't recognize the sexual energy beneath the surface, an unspoken daring and danger in a society that pays lip service to snug fitting finery.

O'Toole relishes the over-inflation of a notorious reputation, crediting Casanova with the invention of the first lottery, whether or not it is judicious to blame the first economic bubble on a penultimate ladies man, in his diabolical if also unwitting seduction of young Edith, a servant retained by the master who holds an important link to the major longing of young Casanova's past.

O'Toole's death scene is aided in the conclusion by venereal disease exacting its price in theatrical old age, as opposed to the more commiserating reality of fighting stomach cancer in his first year as an octogenarian. Let's celebrate the life of a most unique studio chameleon with a rental surge. If not to the credit of BBC Wales, the actor left a varied buffet of other delectable selections.

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