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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: May ::
Burton and Branagh *Hamlet*s
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0369.  Wednesday, 10 May 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Bill Dynes <
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        Date:   Friday, May 5, 1995
        Subj:   Richard Burton's _Hamlet_
 
(2)     From:   Elizabeth Blye Schmitt <
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        Date:   Friday, 5 May 1995 12:33:44 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Hamlets on Film, etc.
 
(3)     From:   Brendan P Murphy <
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        Date:   Sunday, 07 May 95 12:11:32 EDT
        Subj:   Branagh's Hamlet
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Dynes <
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Date:           Friday, May 5, 1995
Subject:        Richard Burton's _Hamlet_
 
I heard only part of an NPR report (Thursday 4 May) that a copy of a film of
Richard Burton's _Hamlet_ has been discovered and shown in London.  Does anyone
know if there are further plans for this film?
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Elizabeth Blye Schmitt <
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Date:           Friday, 5 May 1995 12:33:44 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Hamlets on Film, etc.
 
The DALLAS MORNING NEWS today (5/5/95) also ran a wire report from the
HOLLYWOOD REPORTER confirming the Branagh 3.5 hr HAMLET. It also stated that
Oliver Parker will direct OTHELLO with Laurence Fishburne as Othello, Branagh
as Iago and Thurman as Desdemona.
 
"All things considered" on NPR yesterday ran a piece on the 1964 Burton Hamlet
directed by Gielgud. An archive tape has been restored and will be available
for American audiences "sometime this Fall." No mention if this meant a
theatrical release, cable or video.
 
Also, did no one but me catch the A&E BIOGRAPHY episode on HAMLET. Lots of
history, archive clips, talks with directors and actors. A good overview of
performance history.
 
Elizabeth Schmitt
(note new address)

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brendan P Murphy <
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Date:           Sunday, 07 May 95 12:11:32 EDT
Subject:        Branagh's Hamlet
 
I know this may be old news to many SHAKSPEReans, but anyone who wants to know
what Branagh is likely to do with the *Hamlet* film should check out his 1992
full-length BBC Radio Drama recording (Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing,
ISBN 1 85686 1287, Catalogue No. RC100).
 
On the whole, it is an exceptional recording.  Many of the players are drawn
from Branagh's films -- Judi Dench (Gertrude), Derek Jacobi (Claudius), Richard
Briers (Polonius), and Emma Thompson (Player Queen) - - with such other
notables as John Gielgud (Ghost), the recently-deceased Michael Hordern (Player
King), and Michael Williams (Horatio).
 
On the matter of the text, Branagh used ** Shakespeare: The Complete Works -
Electronic Edition ** from Oxford University Press. Quoting from Russell
Jackson, Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham: "The
text used for the present production is based on the play as it appeared in the
First Folio. ... There are two other significant versions of the
 
play, both of them in the smaller, quarto format: the 'Bad' Quarto of 1603, in
which a short and badly mangled text is given ('To be or not to be, ay there's
the point') and the 'Good' Quarto of 1604.  In the 1604 edition Hamlet has some
passages that do not appear in the First Folio and it is thought by many
scholars that the play had been revised in the course of its career in the
theatre -- possibly by the author himself.  In our script these passages have
been included in order to present the fullest possible version of the play --
among them is the soliloquy 'How all occasions do inform against me'. ...
Although other editions have been consulted, and some of their readings
adopted, the principal source for the text used in this recording is G.R.
Hibbard's edition (Oxford, 1987)."
 
This recording is well worth a listen -- you can bet Branagh will be using it
to help convince wary producers to part with portions of their livelihood.
 
===> Brendan Patrick Murphy (
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        Santa Clara, CA
 

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