Shakespeare

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BrodieMan's Avatar
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are there any shakespeare fans using this forum? personally, i love shakespeare and other than the kenneth branaugh version of hamlet, i really haven't seen that many movies based on his work. i was thinking of renting othello (based on my favorite shakespeare), but i just wanted any opinions on this movie. othello is just an awesome play. the story is simple yet very well told, the characters are completely believable and passionate, and iago is shakespeare's greatest villian. everything is so incredible, but what about the movie? does anyone else have a favorite shakespeare play?



I love the movie version of Much Ado About Nothing. It's so much fun to watch. Other than that, I appreciate Billy Shakespeare, but wouldn't call myself a big fan. I do receive his sonnets by email, around 5 times a week or so, but I havn't actually read any plays...just read a few things here and there really, while enjoying the movies.



BrodieMan's Avatar
Rock God
you should check out othello if you can. it's one of his shorter, simpler, more to-the-point plays. did you see the movie version?



My favorite Shakespeare joint is Hamlet. I like that one a lot. I also enjoy Macbeth and Titus. Romeo and Juliet is a good one too. Unfortunately, I don't like much of the other things I've read of his. However I haven't read Othello yet, so I'll take your recommendation.

Olivier's Hamlet isn't as good as Branagh's, which for me is the best Shakespeare adaptation ever filmed. And I know I'm in the minority here, but I absolutely LOVED Baz Luhrmann's version of Romeo and Juliet. It was wonderful. Leo acts terrifically in it, too.
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Best Shakespeare movie of the last 20 years is TITUS with Anthony Hopkins. Best Shakespeare movie before that is RICHARD III with Laurence Olivier. Also has a terrific score by William Walton, I have never forgotten it -- and I first saw this movie when I was 9.)

Best performance in a Shakespeare movie is Laurence Olivier as OTHELLO. The acting here might be a little over-ripe for some, but that is because this OTHELLO is actually only a filmed record of the very famous 1965 London stage production. A special note: To prepare for the role, Olivier lowered his voice a full octave and even sounds West Indian. The text is also pretty much uncut, unlike the Laurence Fishburne OTHELLO which retained only half (ABOMINATION!) of Shakespeare's text.

Best interpretations of Shakespeare are Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD (MACBETH) and RAN (KING LEAR). I also remember (how can I ever forget?) a gayish version of THE TEMPEST directed by Derek Jarman, in which there are some prancing sailors, a startling scene of Caliban nursing at the breast of a more than ample Sycorax, and a soulful rendition of the song STORMY WEATHER!!)

On Branagh. I found his HAMLET a very long if faithful bore. In fact, I found Olivier & Mel Gibson's HAMLETS boring as well. Let's face it: melancholy Danes are just very boring and nobody ever looks like a convincing Dane. (Are Danes all blonde, by the way?) I do like Branagh's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING however. Emma Thompson is charming, the whole cast is charming!

HENRY V. I prefer the classic Olivier version to Branagh's grittier work. Branagh is alright; his work just doesn't do a damn thing for me, is all.
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Watch Kurosawa's RAN--which is really King Lear. And THRONE OF BLOOD which is Macbeth. Again by Kurosawa. Mel Gibson's Hamlet is my favorite HAMLET. Also PROSPERO's BOOKS (aka THE TEMPEST) with Sir John Gielguid. Very strange film. TITUS--Absolutely Great. Should have gotten an Oscar.
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Mel Gibson's Hamlet????

Hamlet's all about making a decision, and in Gibson's version, you didn't even get to see him do it.



I'm a huge fan of ol Shakes. His comedies (including Romeo & Juliet, if you look at it from the satirical rather than tragic point of view) are his best, but that's just b/c I bore easily of historical tragedy. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (probably my favorite play of his) was superb in the Jane Austenesque relationship superbly played by Branagh and Emma Thompson.

Lurhmann's Romeo was very cool, not spectacular, but impressively ambitious nonetheless. Zeferelli's Romeo is no good. Although, if that Juliet were that young now, I'd have her play Juliet again (with a more modern acting technique of course) - she's the same chick from Zeferelli's Gospel series.

I'm waiting to see the new O (for Othello). It'll prolly be a bad teen adaptation, but you never know.

Another good Shakes book is The Taming of the Shrew, which was satisfactorily enough filmed in 10 Things I Hate About YOu.

The best part of Shakespeare is the wit and the wordplay, which might actually be foreign to us nowadays since our English has changed so dramatically from the Elizabethan era. Just as Kurt Vonnegut might not be thought satirical or John Cusack might not be thought funny three hundred years hence.



BrodieMan's Avatar
Rock God
wait, there's a new othello? i just knew about the laurence fishburne one.



BrodieMan's Avatar
Rock God
damn, i haven't seen that, but i can honestly say it looks pretty damn stupid. i hate hollywood destroying classics. jesus, leave shakespeare alone or do it right.



If the movie sucks, at least we'll have something to look at: Julia Stiles. I'm in love with her, no joke. I'm willing to give that movie the benefit of the doubt though, because all movies deserve that.



Steve is a freak...he's obsessed! At least stalk someone like Natalie Portman, Bridgette Wilson, or Kirsten Dunst. Geez. Anyway, I'm looking forward to "O" -- it's being directed by the enjoyable Tim Blake Nelson, who played Delmar in "O Brother Where Art Thou?"



Registered User
My favorite film based on Shakespeare's writing, would be Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood. Totally awesome, as are all the films of his I've had the pleasure of seeing. Here's a quote of Kurosawa's from the back of the video, "I enjoyed Macbeth and it made me think in many ways. Many similar characters could be found in the age of civil war in Japan, equivalent to the period Shakespeare is writing about in Scotland. In many ways it was not unnatural to transfer Shakespeare's play to the age of civil strife in Japan."




Female assassin extraordinaire.
I had to read a bunch of Shakespeare for my Major in college and have seen most of the non-teenybopper film versions.

I literally fell in love - oh so in love - with Kenneth Branagh at the tender age of 12 when watching his Henry V for an English class ... everyone else thought I was nuts (being from a sort of hoopty ghetto town) but I swear, an Englishman running around in green tights swooning a French Emma Thompson for her hand in marriage just got to me ... along with his war speeches. I fell out of love with him when he dropped Emma for Helena, the [email protected]

anyway ... I really enjoyed Lawrence Fishburne's Othello, I mean, alright, so some had to be cut but that's what happens when you cut a play to make a film, sometimes darlings have to be killed. Case in point: Branagh's Hamlet, which I also found excruciating and unnecessarily dragged. The point of film is essence. If you were to make it play length then by god, film it while being performed onstage.

By the by, I saw an old run of Anthony Hopkins playing Othello ... he had a little fro and was younger, it was amusing as hell. And another of Judy Dench on a completely black, spartan set for some such play, can't recall the name ...





BrodieMan's Avatar
Rock God
i definitely thought the branagh hamlet was long, that was one of the only things i didn't like...



Are you guys referring to the one set in the Victorian area, where Kenny was wearing all white? I didn't see much of that, but man, it seemed bizarre. I'm glad that I haven't seen the whole thing.

Miriam: right on. If anyone here has NOT heard/read the immortal St. Crispen's Day speech, you should do so:
http://www.chronique.com/Library/Knights/crispen.htm