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The best Shakespeare on film


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Richard III (the real one) is in the news.

A skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park has been confirmed as that of English king Richard III.

Experts from the University of Leicester said DNA from the bones matched that of descendants of the monarch's family.

Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, told a press conference to applause: "Beyond reasonable doubt it's Richard."

Richard, killed in battle in 1485, will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral.

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--The National, "Graceless"
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It may not qualify as "best", but opening in a week or two is Caesar Must Die. A doc of prisoners in an Italian max security prison doing Julius Caesar. It shows most of the play either in rehearsal or performance. Very interesting.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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  • 4 weeks later...

Does anyone know if the Bongo version of Chimes at Midnight will play on Region 1 players? The official website describes the DVD as "PAL Multi-Region Dual Layer DVD9." I take it must DVD players should be PAL compatible?

On a second note, is that the best version available?

I'm trying to watch as many great Shakespeare adaptations as I can at the moment (taking Later Shakespeare).

@Timzila

"It is the business of fiction to embody mystery through manners, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind." (Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners).

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INSERT RANT ABOUT WELLES' ESTATE AND ALL THAT.

I mean, even given all that, how is it that the director who is popularly credited with directing 'the best film of all time' (regardless of how silly that claim is, in some ways) doesn't even have decent versions of most of his films available in the U.S.

I want to see Chimes at Midnight

I want to see The Trial.

HULK SMASH!

@Timzila

"It is the business of fiction to embody mystery through manners, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind." (Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners).

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Does anyone know if the Bongo version of Chimes at Midnight will play on Region 1 players? The official websitedescribes the DVD as "PAL Multi-Region Dual Layer DVD9." I take it must DVD players should be PAL compatible?

On a second note, is that the best version available?

I'm trying to watch as many great Shakespeare adaptations as I can at the moment (taking Later Shakespeare).

The Mr. Bongo release plays just fine on my iMac. Unfortunately, when I run it on my OPPO Blu-ray disc player, it has a choppy, skipping effect. I suspect because it's "multi-region" and not "all region," you'll have better luck on some players than others.

At any rate, this "restored version" is by far the best transfer of Falstaff/Chimes at Midnight yet released. The image is a bit soft, but it's comparatively clean and the anamorphic presentation is an improvement over previous versions. The back cover states that it was licensed from the Emiliano Piedra estate. Piedra was one of the producers on Falstaff, and his family is one of several to claim ownership of the film. (The Welles estate, maintained by Orson's daughter Beatrice, is another.)

Edited by Nathaniel

"A great film is one that to some degree frees the viewer from this passive stupor and engages him or her in a creative process of viewing. The dynamic must be two-way. The great film not only comes at the viewer, it draws the viewer toward it." -Paul Schrader

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I mean, even given all that, how is it that the director who is popularly credited with directing 'the best film of all time' (regardless of how silly that claim is, in some ways) doesn't even have decent versions of most of his films available in the U.S.

I want to see Chimes at Midnight

I want to see The Trial.

HULK SMASH!

This is the modern world we live in. A regular DVD version of the Chimes of Midnight? Nope. A regular DVD version widely available of Zac Efron's Me & Orson Welles? Only $5.

Welcome to pop culture U.S.A.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ron wrote:

: Kenny's MUCH ADO and HANK CINQ were fabulous - pity about the

: Danish monstrosity, eh?

What about Kenny's other film, AMOROUS EFFORTS MISPLACED? I think he might be the first director-star to make four Shakespeare films (five, if we count THAT BLACK DUDE, which he only starred in). IIRC, Peter Birnie began his interview with Kenny (around the time that THE DANISH MONSTROSITY, his third effort, came out) by noting that Orson Welles and Laurence Olivier had made only three Shakespeare movies each.

Reaching waaaay back for this one, but Love's Labour's Lost is on Netflix US, and I decided last night (in a fit of madness) to watch it.

It's...well, it's bad, right? I do like the idea of converting a Shakespeare comedy into a musical, and there's something that's just right about filling this particular play with Gershwin and Porter. But things don't really gel at all, particularly in the first half of the movie. The musical numbers do seem more integrated in the second half, for whatever reason, but for the most part they're very forced--a particular low point is when Timothy Spall sings "I Get a Kick Out of You." The dancing, weirdly enough, is equal parts undercooked and over-aware (I've seen criticisms of Burton's acting style as being "Look, Ma! I'm doing Shakespeare!" Branagh doesn't have that problem...here. Instead, it's "Look, Ma! I'm Dancing!" The same is true of the whole cast).

[The exception here is Matthew Lillard. That man should have been born a century ago; he's got a kind of gawky grace (or had a kind of gawky grace, I suppose) that makes him seem right at home in an Astaire-Rogers world.]

That said--the final sequence, which manages to blend Shakespeare, Gershwin, and Casablanca, was pretty good (actually, the movie's better--though not much--if you jettison the idea that it's a Shakespeare adaptation at all and focus on it instead as an homage to classic movie-musicals).

EDIT: Oh, I forgot to mention: it's also a good bit of fun. Bad, but fun. I'll certainly be revisiting it. So there's that. [Full confession: about thirteen years back, this was my favorite Shakespeare comedy.]

Edited by NBooth
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  • 7 years later...

Very interesting discussions here. Count me as another fan of Branaghs Hamlet. Considering Hamlet is by far my favorite Shakespeare play to say I was eager to see a four hour adaptation of it would be an understatement, and boy did it exceed my expectations in every way possible. From the sets to the exquisite dialogue that literally left nothing out to career best performances by Winslet and Branagh respectfully, to the shocking but welcome inclusions of such incredible people like Jack Lemmon, Billy Crystal, and Robin Williams the whole thing from start to finish is a glorious achievement that simply mesmerizes you. Like I've said before the only Branagh Shakespeare's I've seen are much ado, Hamlet, and All is True, but someday I hope to watch and possibly own his twelfth night and Henry the fifth. From what I've read about his as you like it and loves labour's lost it seems like I can skip those, but his other Shakespeare ones seem wonderful. Anyway thanks to Kenneth Morefield for pointing me to this discussion. It was quite interesting.

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