Movies: Quiet Venom

Al Pacino is smartly low-key in a new Merchant

Shakespeare didn't call his play Shylock: The Jew of Venice. The title character is Antonio, who rashly wagered his flesh as collateral for a loan. Shylock was simply Antonio's banker, whose humiliation--by lovely, quick-witted Portia--is irrelevant to the romantic intriguing that consumes most of the plot. But Shylock's injured majesty and his rough treatment by the play's putative hero and heroine have hijacked The Merchant of Venice and made it a showcase for great actors. In a production in which Laurence Olivier, say, or Dustin Hoffman took on Shylock, does anyone remember who played Antonio or Portia?

For the record, Jeremy...

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