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Elliot Norton Reviews; Rex Harrison


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Elliot Norton Reviews
Rex Harrison
Series Description

Boston theatre critic Elliot Norton interviews prominent actors, directors and producers on their craft. (Aired from October, 1958 to 1982. Winner of both Peabody and Tony Awards.) Series release date: 1958

Program Description

Elliot Norton interviews Rex Harrison about his title role in Pirandello’s The Emperor Henry IV at the Boston Shubert Theater. It is a modern drama about a man who is thrown from a horse, goes mad and believes he is the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV. Eight years later, he becomes sane again, but continues to pretend he is insane. When he is shocked to make him sane again, there are negative results.

Harrison talks about the reasons for being attracted to the role: it is a different character than he was used to playing and a complex one at that. It was hard because he needs to convince the cast and audience that he is mad and then convince them that he is not.

Harrison talks about the character’s decision to pretend to be insane. He and Norton compare Harrison’s character to the POWs coming out of Vietnam. They talk about how the POWs try to keep a sense of order when they are in the camps and then having to face the chaos when leaving the camps. They talk about the role of the doctor in the play and whether he should be taken seriously or comically.

Harrison and Norton talk about Harrison being perceived as Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady by the audience. They compare this to Pirandello’s theme in the play that people carry masks around with them. Henry Higgins as Harrison’s mask.

Director: Russell Tillman

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Talk Show
Performing Arts
Chicago: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Rex Harrison,” 02/20/1973, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 23, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_B7155A993D764381A7E83D7D27629E11.
MLA: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Rex Harrison.” 02/20/1973. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 23, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_B7155A993D764381A7E83D7D27629E11>.
APA: Elliot Norton Reviews; Rex Harrison. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_B7155A993D764381A7E83D7D27629E11
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