His black wig glossed by the footlights, the cleft-chinned, still slender actor moved across the stage with lithe vitality. In turn he flashed from eye-rolling jokester to grimacing pighead, from egotistic Roman hero to slack-jawed outcast. The actor: Sir Laurence Olivier, 52, first knight of the British theater and probably the greatest living English-language actor. The play: Coriolanus, William Shakespeare's least popular major work. The stage: Shakespeare Memorial Theater at Stratford on Avon, where critics are only too eager to fault the stars. But on opening night last week they agreed...

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