There’s a certain level of charm, rarely seen on the big screen today, which wholly encapsulates Under Milk Wood – the latest adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ infamous 1954 radio play. Adaptations can be something of a risk, more often than not the predecessor is looked on more favourably that its successor. And yet, following on from Andrew Sinclair’s 1972 effort, Kevin Allen brings the fun, warmth and Charlotte Church to his version.
Starring Rhys Ifans and Charlotte Church, Under Milk Wood is Kevin Allen’s (Twin Town) adaptation of Dylan Thomas’s brilliant and haunting radio play. Visceral, funny and filthily fluid, Under Milk Wood follows Captain Cat as he visits the dreams and innermost thoughts of the inhabitants of a fictional small Welsh fishing village, Llareggub (“bugger all” backwards).
Shortly before his death in 1953 Dylan Thomas’s “play for voices” received its first public reading at the Poetry Centre in New York with Thomas himself narrating. It was then produced on the BBC Third Programme in 1954 with an all Welsh cast led by Richard Burton, whose rich tones became identified with the narrator role. Burton later reprised the role in the 1972 film which also featured Peter O’Toole and Elizabeth Taylor. There have been many stage productions over the years throughout the world and a recent UK television version with Michael Sheen but this is the first cinema version since the seventies.
A ground-breaking film interpretation of Dylan Thomas’ classic play Under Milk Wood will be the UK’s submission in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the Oscars.