Thursday, June 13, 2013
In Equus, a troubled English boy is sent to a state psychiatrist for a psychological evaluation en route to prison for blinding six horses with a metal spike. The doctor uncovers the root of the young man’s psychosis as he takes us on a twisting, turning journey through the recesses of the human mind, culminating in an erotic secret ceremony gone awry.
The 1977 film version is Richard Burton’s last great role, as jaded, world-weary psychiatrist Martin Dysart, winning him a final Best Actor Academy Award nomination. (He never won even once, for all his nominations.) Peter Firth is equally magnificent as young Alan (he also earned an Oscar nod as Best Supporting Actor), and the chemistry between Burton and Firth is electric and intense.
The Peter Shaffer play was revived in 2008, with Daniel Radcliffe as Alan and his Harry Potter costar Richard Griffiths as Dr. Dysart. It earned heaps of publicity, not for its bold text or skilled performances, but for the full frontal nude scenes of its young star during the “midnight gallop” sequences.