Shakespeare in Film

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Well being a fan (though not an expert) of Shakespeare. I just thought I'd pose this question (ok so these questions)

Are there any "purists" out there who feel that Shakespeare's plays should be kept off of the silver screen and just kept strictly in theater?

What is your favorite Shakespeare adaptation onto film?

Have any of you absolutely hated a paticular adaptation?

Do you any of you ladies agree with me that Leonard Whiting who played Romeo in the 1968 film version of 'Romeo and Juliet' was very hot?

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I love Shakespeare… and have several favorites…

Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
Twelfth Night (1996)
Henry V (1989)
Hamlet ( 1990 & 1996)
Romeo and Juliet (1968 - yes he was hot )
The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
A Midsummer’s Nights Dream (1999)
MacBeth (1971 - there are a few versions of this one I haven‘t seen yet)

All very good movies… but Much Ado is my favorite to watch over and over... it's hilarious…
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My favourite Shakespeare films would have to be:

Roman Polanski's Macbeth (1971)
and
Hamlet (1990) with Mel Gibson.

I didn't really like the Romeo & Juliet w/Leonardo DiCaprio but it is and interesting idea to modernize a Shakespeare play.

Making a good Shakespeare movie is a tough job because in order to make most films shorter than 4 hours stuff has to be cut out.



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I thought Brando's performance in Julius Caesar is a classic--riveting and totally original and brilliant. Pure Brando.



For me the best Shakespeare play brought to the screen is Branagh's epic Hamlet (1996), which tends to be too often underrated for some reason. I think it's brilliant, and to see it theatrically in 70mm is breathtaking.




And the best re-working of Shakespeare has to be Kurosawa's RAN (1985), which cleverly transplants Lear to Fuedal Japan.



And if you want to read through a massive Shakespeare thread from this site, click HERE. It's a monster from back in 2001.
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While I agree that Branagh does it best, I've always been partial to his 1993 rendition of Much Ado About Nothing. Shakespeare's always got a hint of comedy to his works, and it's nice to enjoy them in a setting where people aren't dying in hoards, though even this one -- one of his more lighthearted plays -- has a few solemn moments.

I like to think of Much Ado About Nothing as a more realistic version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. There's all kinds of matchmaking going on, just sans fairies and such this time.



My favorite scene would probably be the one near the beginning, where the women of Messina hear that the men are returning from war. Both genders proceed to strip down and bathe en masse in preparation for reunion with a member of the other sex. It's a fun scene that sets the tone for most of the rest of the film.

Tragedy strikes, naturally (it is Shakespeare, you know), when Don John (Keanu Reeves), the brother of Don Pedro (Denzel Washington) plots to drive a wedge between two budding young lovers, played by Robert Sean Leonard and the now-mainstream Kate Beckinsale. And, to use a phrase that this story is probably one of the first to qualify for, hijinks ensue.

Definitely recommended.



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Originally Posted by Caitlyn
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
Twelfth Night (1996)
Henry V (1989)
Hamlet ( 1990 & 1996)
Romeo and Juliet (1968 - yes he was hot )
The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
A Midsummer’s Nights Dream (1999)
MacBeth (1971 - there are a few versions of this one I haven‘t seen yet)
I'm a huge Shakespeare guy. I've bolded my picks (These movies are Four Stars, classics...you know. The works. The best of the best.)

Although I might be doing so when I crack open some of Olivier's stuff, (Richard III comes out on Criterion DVD soon!), the only addition I'd like to make for the moment is Titus (1999). This movie has great acting, brilliant and bizarre set and costume design, inspired direction...I love it.

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Tie for first place between Roman Polanski's MACBETH & TITUS with Anthony Hopkins.

RICHARD III with Ian McKellam
JULIUS CEASAR with Brando
OTHELLO with Laurence Fishburne
HAMELET with Laurence Olivier

also worth noting Tom Stoppard's ROZENCRANTZ and GUILDERSTERN ARE DEAD is an absolute masterpiece. And Al Pacino's LOOKING FOR RICHARD is also a worthy addition to any collection.


I absolutely hated Baz Lurhmann's ROMEO and JULIEt (4/10) and MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM with Ally McBeal. Also worth noting Im not much of a fan of Kenneth Brannagh's intertpretations although his HAMLET and HENRY IV were OK.
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Originally Posted by Deckard
also worth noting Tom Stoppard's ROZENCRANTZ and GUILDERSTERN ARE DEAD is an absolute masterpiece. And Al Pacino's LOOKING FOR RICHARD is also a worthy addition to any collection.
I'm not a fan of Shakespears work at all, but, I loved this film. Oldman and Roth worked brilliantly together.



I love Shakespeare. And it all started with Elizabeth Taylor in

The Taming of the Shrew
To me in that movie she became the mother of all girl-power!!!!!
I try to like new adaptations like

10 Things I Hate About You
but I'm finding it hard to do....

Much Ado About Nothing
is still one of my favourite movies. Keanu Reeves was acting so bad that I could never tell if he did it on purpose to ridicule the character or if he just didn't know how to play! Michael Keaton killed me. He was so funny!!!!!

A Midsummer Night's Dream was a bit dissapointing. And I'm such a Rupert Everett fan. But he sure doesn't know how to pick his scripts sometimes.
And then of course there is

The Lion King
Argh!!!! I hate the idea of a Disneyan Shakespeare, but I like the movie...

I haven't mentioned any of his tragedies. I must admit that I prefer reading them. So much clever information are hidden in every line and when I watch the movies I forget to notice it. However, I've heard that

The King Is Alive
is supposed to be really good...
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Originally Posted by Discount Angel
...The Lion King
Argh!!!! I hate the idea of a Disneyan Shakespeare, but I like the movie... ...
uh.... what?? The Lion King is Shakespeare? I could have sworn it was Kimba the White Lion (a Japanese animated tv show). If it's based on a Shakespearean story, I'd love to know which one. Hamlet, maybe? Wild.


I love Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado (Brannaugh), Henry's monologue in Henry 5 (Brannaugh). I've never seen Shakespeare on film that I didn't like, actually. I enjoyed the sets and costumes in the Luhrman Romeo and Juliet and Stanley Tucci's excellent Puck in Midsummer Night's Dream.
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Originally Posted by SamsoniteDelilah
uh.... what?? The Lion King is Shakespeare? I could have sworn it was Kimba the White Lion (a Japanese animated tv show). If it's based on a Shakespearean story, I'd love to know which one. Hamlet, maybe? Wild.
I remember reading a 'mini rant' by some professor (sorry, can't remember his name) that Disney had ripped off Shakespeare because The Lion King was just Hamlet... with a happy ending… maybe that is what Discount Angel was referring to…



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Disney. I have a rant of my own. I'll make it short:
I hate their re-tellings of good stories because they always jack it up with stupid "sidekicks". Cinderella had the mice, The Little Mermaid had Flounder and the crab, Mulan had the dragon, not to mention the deplorable classics/history like The Huntchback of Norte Dame and Pocahontas...since when was Pocahontas a playboy bunny?
Then the whole thing with cashing in on Pixar's success. I heard they had a 5 film contract and Pixar thought that deal was over with Finding Nemo, then Disney pulled out the "Sequels don't count" card and said Toy Story 2 wasn't part of the deal. GRRRRRR....Disney. I wouldn't put it past them to rip Shakespeare off too.
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A system of cells interlinked
Disney was the dark prince himself, modularizing the world, automating life ala Lang's Metropolis. Anyway, my favorite adaptation of Shakespeare:

RAN
(Akira Kurosawa, 1985) - King Lear
Forbidden Planet (Wilcox, 1956) - Othello
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Standing in the Sunlight, Laughing
Shakespeare didn't invent his own stories, either... he was retelling popular folk tales.
Originally Posted by Sedai
Forbidden Planet (Wilcox, 1956) - Othello
No way! That's pretty cool. Now I need to see that.



Actually, no that isn't the way. Forbidden Planet is not adapted from Othello, it's loosely re-worked from The Tempest.




Back in the 80's, Muammar Khadafi claimed that Shakespeare plagiarized all of his stories from Arab folktales and that Shakespeare, himself, was of Arab descent… and several French newspapers ran with the story…



Standing in the Sunlight, Laughing
Holden~ Heh! I can't see the pics, but that sounds more in line with what I know of the Shapespeare scripts, anyway.

Caitlyn~ That is very interesting. I guess anything's possible... I've heard the theory that he was a group of writers, too. I guess we need that time machine if we're ever to really know.