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Home :: Archive :: 1992 :: December ::
Zeffirelli *Hamlet* (Was Mel Gibson *Hamlet*)
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 378. Sunday, 13 December 1992.
 
(1)     From:   Roy Flannagan <FLANNAGA@OUACCVMB>
        Date:   Sunday, 13 December 92, 14:18:59 EST
        Subj:   Ophelia the Noodle
 
(2)     From:   Robert O'Connor <
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 >
        Date:   Monday, 14 Dec 1992 10:29:56 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 3.072  Another R: Mel Gibson *Hamlet*
 
(1)--------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roy Flannagan <FLANNAGA@OUACCVMB>
Date:           Sunday, 13 December 92, 14:18:59 EST
Subject:        Ophelia the Noodle
 
This may be going off too quickly (not flaming), but I didn't think
Bonham-Carter's performance with Zeffirelli directing was noodlish.  She
made Ophelia more attractive, more worthy of Hamlet's love, and a bit
stronger than any earlier Ophelia I have seen.  Earlier Ophelias have
been dippy (is that the same as noodlish?), as have earlier Cordelias
(pretty and sweet, but useless and naive).  The first powerful
portrayals of Shakespearean women (other than the bad ones) I have
witnessed in various media have all been in the last twenty years: Kate
in the BBC Jonathan Miller production, and the Desdemona in Miller's BBC
{Othello} are both notable.  It was nice to see an Ophelia who had at least
a little power over her own life and did not define herself in terms of her
father, her brother, and her boyfriend.
                                                     Roy Flannagan (who
expects to be shredded left and right after writing this, but who thinks
Olivia Hussey's Juliet a beautiful simp and Elizabeth Taylor's Kate a
screaming parody of an old bag nag and is therefore happy with
Zeffirelli's empowered Ophelia)
 
(2)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert O'Connor <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 14 Dec 1992 10:29:56 +1000
Subject: 3.072  Another R: Mel Gibson *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 3.072  Another R: Mel Gibson *Hamlet*
 
I have to agree that there were many virtues in the "Gibson" *Hamlet*, not
the least of which is that it _did_ make the 'text' more accessible to more
people - I spoke to a number of people who had little or no exposure to
Shakespeare (it was inevitable - I was working on the play at the time - as
soon as I said so everyone wanted to talk about the movie!) and all of the
agreed that they found it much easier to follow/understand/whatever than
they expected.
 
I did not want to suggest, however, that Zeffirelli's textual alterations were
unforgiveable - the director should have some degree of control over the text,
certainly - but there was something in the character of his remarks which made
them abrasive.
 
ROC

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         ]
Robert F. O'Connor               ]     What I want to know is,
English Department               ]     who's responsible?
Australian National University   ]
 

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