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Alleyn says "It's good. The title won't do. Romeo and Juliet--just a suggestion."

Will thanks him, stating that he's a gentleman, to which Alleyn responds "And you are a "Warwickcshire ****house."

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My favorite mirror scene is the one in Duck Soup.

My favorite actor in Branagh's Hamlet (and Trevor Nunn's Twelfth Night) is the criminally overlooked Nicholas Farrell.

I don't know whether Shakespeare needs editors so much as he needs directors who are willing to look for the raison d'etre for every scene until they find it. If a certain scene seems superfluous, it's as likely to be the director's fault as the playwright's. Audiences at the Globe were a lot less forgiving and polite than today's theatre audiences; these plays were all performance-tested in the playwright's own acting company, and I have no doubt they were edited quite rigorously in the process.

The problem with that is that the playwright himself didn't keep final copies; who knows what source material the Folio editors had?

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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I see that I chose a good time to change my avatar wink.gif

Not a big fan of Branagh's Hamlet, for the same reasons others have cited, but I do like his Much Ado--who cares about Claudio? Branagh & Thompson are brilliant as Benedick and Beatrice. Nevertheless, I'll always have a soft spot for Sam Waterston's Benedick and Kathleen Widdoes' Beatrice in the 1973 NY Shakespeare Festival production (now available on DVD). Also like Branagh's Henry V, and find his weird musical Love's Labours Lost strangely attractive, though completely off-kilter.

Scotland, PA, IMHO, goes on the adaptation list, along with 10 Things I Hate About You--only Scotland is definitely a superior piece of work. Maura Tierney is brilliant.

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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So are we removing, like, Throne of Blood and Ran and West Side Story the like from the adaptation rostrum, or do these count as well? Just curious...

For purposes of my article, I stuck to films that preserve Shakespeare's actual text, however hacked. Another fun list, though, would be "freer" adaptations. Some that come to mind, and I'll start with yours...

Throne of Blood

Ran

West Side Story

This Island Earth

O

Ten Things I Hate About You

Scotland PA

Let The Devil Wear Black (yech!)

Shakespeare Wallah (more or less)

Hmm... There are tons more, not coming to mind just yet.

And then there are the Bard Backstage flicks, like;

MIDWINTER'S TALE

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE

(what's that one with "Brush Up Your Shakespeare"?)

DEAD POET'S SOCIETY

Edited by Ron

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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This Island Earth? Which play was that based on?

I think "Forbidden Planet" was loosely based on the Tempest... sort of.

It had a face like Robert Tilton's -- without the horns.

- Steve Taylor, "Cash Cow"

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This Island Earth? Which play was that based on?

I think "Forbidden Planet" was loosely based on the Tempest... sort of.

Yeah, that's the one I was thinking of.

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Nick Alexander wrote:

: Re: Length of play--one cannot help the length of the play if one decides to do

: the whole unabbreviated text.

You mean, one cannot help the decisions one makes? smile.gif

: Re: Cameos--wasn't bothered, but then I never saw The Greatest Story Ever

: Told. I liked seeing Jack Lemmon and Billy Crystal in a Shakespearean

: production, and I like the big-named cameos in Jesus of Nazareth.

Yeah, Jesus of Nazareth is widely acknowledged to have succeeded where The Greatest Story Ever Told failed, in this regard.

: Re: vast hall of mirrors--LOVED that. Made perfect metaphorical sense. And it

: made me wonder if they'd ever done that before--I mean, how the heck does

: someone film that without catching the camera crew? (Of course, this

: achievement alone might be what you're getting at--a distraction from the text).

That wasn't quite what I had in mind in my earlier posts, but yeah, this is true, too -- the fact that I was constantly wondering where the cameras were made it difficult to focus on THE PLAY. And the play IS the thing, so they say, or it should be, at least.

: If it makes any sense, while I love K Branagh's Hamlet more, if I were to

: purchase a DVD, I'd be getting Gibson's version, only because I'm a huge fan of

: Sir Ian Holm.

Interesting. I would have to agree with Ron and say that Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia was way cool, too. Though I haven't seen the Zeffirelli/Gibson version since it came out 14 years ago.

Anders wrote:

: BTW, Peter, I can understand some of your grievances, but the hall of mirrors?

: Everyone in our department, whether they're fans or not agrees that scene is a

: stroke of genius.

The hall of mirrors was in only one scene!?

Diane wrote:

: Orson Welles used a funhouse hall of mirrors in The Lady from Shanghai back in

: 1948.

Woody Allen played on this nicely in Manhattan Murder Mystery in 1993, I believe.

Jason Bortz wrote:

: And let's not forget Tron!

Eh?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Not a big fan of Branagh's Hamlet, for the same reasons others have cited, but I do like his Much Ado--who cares about Claudio?

Hey, I liked Robt. Sean Leonard as Claudio! I seem to recall that he played Claudio's grief as much as if not more than his anger

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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I'm gonna stick my neck out on the chopping block and say I liked Prospero's Books.

But when it comes to variations or spoofs on Shakespeare, I agree that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead belongs near the top of the list.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Totally forgot about Prospero's Books.

I think I was the only huge fan of that movie I know...Greenaway is a man of excess, and at this flick I was completely spellbound by the art direction coupled with Nyman's score and the interpretation of the text...

Yeah, it was repetitive, and so artsy that it redefined 'pretentious' for a great many filmgoers. But I sat there emotionally stunned by the effort he put into it to display dance, music, poetry, literature, film and even CGI into one mesmerizing package.

So yes, I have seen it, and I stand at the ready for my lambasting. biggrin.gif

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Anders wrote:

: BTW, Peter, I can understand some of your grievances, but the hall of mirrors?

: Everyone in our department, whether they're fans or not agrees that scene is a

: stroke of genius.

The hall of mirrors was in only one scene!?

Well, yeah, it figures into much of the movie, but I was thinking of the scene where Polonius and Claudius are watching Hamlet and Ophelia through the two-way mirror.

Oh, and I like Derek Jacobi as Claudius.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Anders wrote:

: BTW, Peter, I can understand some of your grievances, but the hall of mirrors?

: Everyone in our department, whether they're fans or not agrees that scene is a

: stroke of genius.

Well, it's me against The Department, then. I found that scene heavy-handed, hopelessly over-wrought, over-clever and credibility-straining. That Hammy-boy should just happen to slam Ophelia's face into the one mirror out of eight billion behind which King Clod and his sidekick just happened to be hiding? Nah. A prime example of Kenny's vaulting cinematic ambition o'erleaping itself and falling on the other.

Hambug.

But you know what was grand? The confetti in I:2 as the court departs, leaving Hamlet alone. Overlaying crowd sounds on images of the empty room, the way the white paper (?) evoked snow, cold. Wowie-zowie.

Oh, and I also liked the statue-ghost. It was really scary.

Not.

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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But when it comes to variations or spoofs on Shakespeare, I agree that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead belongs near the top of the list.

R&GrD the play, yes. The movie--not so much. The film version cuts almost all the lines that might be interpreted as hinting at the possibility of an Author at work and makes the whole thing much more absurd than the stage version. And now, of course, I can't find my copy of the play so I can't back it up, but anyone can compare the two if you like.

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Slightly offtopic.gif

South Coast Rep staged Amy Freed's play The Beard of Avon which, while not on film, is a nice Shakespeare as subject play. (In this case looking at the theory that Will was an actor who served as a front for various nobles who wanted their plays performed.)

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Well, it's me against The Department, then. I found that scene heavy-handed, hopelessly over-wrought, over-clever and credibility-straining....

Ron, half of Shakespeare's great moments are credibility straining. Look at the chain of events in R&J, or Midsummer's, or MacBeth et al.-- all of them depend on the timing of figures just happening to be in the right (or wrong) place at the right or wrong time. How can you fault Branagh for doing the same?

Good point! Definitely, score one for Jason.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that Kenneth rubs our face in it at this point - even in the context of a universe of improbabilities, the staging of this scene still seems to me not only improbable, but acutely improbable, and improbably cute.

But this kind of aesthetic judgement call is always going to vary with the viewer. I perceive too much over-the-topness in this movie, a self-indulgence that's not moderated by good judgement, resulting in cool effects that exist mostly for the sake of the effect. Certainly one could accuse Taymor of the same in TITUS, or Luhrmann in R+J, but those ones work for me where this one doesn't. Who can say why?

Edited by Ron

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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Slightly  offtopic.gif

Amy Freed's play The Beard of Avon which, while not on film, is a nice Shakespeare as subject play. 

Makes me think of William Gibson's "A Cry Of Players," another Shakespeare-as-subject play. Then there's a play that riffs on Shakespeare's works, Ann-Marie MacDonald's "(Goodnight Desdemona) Good Morning Juliet."

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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I'm going to be on the radio today, talkin' bout the bard. Al Kresta at Ave Maria Radio network saw the CT Movies piece, wants to chat. 2:30 pacific time. Fun. SDG does lots with them.

Edited by Ron

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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  • 1 year later...

Putting in a plug for the 2003 UK television adaptation of TWELFTH NIGHT, directed by Tim Supple, starring Parminder Nagra (Bend It Like Beckham, ER) as Viola and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity, Children of Men, etc, etc.) as Orsino.

Trevor Nunn's TN is beautiful, very much in line with the Edwardian setting. This version also has its moments of beauty, but is generally much more stark and rough, in a 20th c. setting complete with pop music and electronic surveillance systems. Well worth a look.

DVD is a double set with UK TV production of Macbeth, dir. Michael Bogdanov & starring Sean Pertwee & Greta Scacchi, which I have not yet viewed.

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Somehow I have the feeling that Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss won't be making it onto the best of Shakespeare list. ;)

A comprehensive list of what's wrong with "Romeo & Juliet: Sealed With a Kiss" would stretch farther than the unabridged works of William S. But it begins with the notion of a just-for-kids take on a play whose climax is a double suicide. Don't worry: There's no dying here. Just an unending torture, 77 minutes that feel longer than an uncut Hamlet.

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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