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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: January ::
Re: Screenplays; Voice-Over; Ball's Book
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0015. Saturday, 6 January 1996.

(1)     From:   Fiona C. Quick <
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        Date:   Friday, 5 Jan 96 21:06:43 -0600
        Subj:   Re: Hamlet Screenplays

(2)     From:   Porter Jamison <
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        Date:   Saturday, 6 Jan 1996 07:25:43 -0800
        Subj:   Re:  Voice-over Hamlet?

(3)     From:   Bradley S. Berens <
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        Date:   Saturday, 6 Jan 1996 11:32:44 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Robert Hamilton Ball's Book on Silent Film Shakespeare


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fiona C. Quick <
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Date:           Friday, 5 Jan 96 21:06:43 -0600
Subject:        Re: Hamlet Screenplays

I would suggest the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Library. You
would most likely not be able to obtain a copy from them, but they would be the
best and most accurate resource for locating copies.  I believe there are also
several web sites where you can search numerous screenplays.  I will pass the
message on to a film studies academic I know of and see if I can get a more
detailed response for you.

Fiona C. Quick
University of Minnesota
School of Journalism and Mass Communication &
Department of Speech Communication

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Porter Jamison <
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Date:           Saturday, 6 Jan 1996 07:25:43 -0800
Subject:        Re:  Voice-over Hamlet?

>On December 11, Michael Friedman <
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 > wrote:
>
>> I started to wonder about *To be or not to be*.  If, as it
>> has been asserted, most audiences know it so well by now that
>> they hardly pay attention to the words, does the actor even
>> need to speak the lines?  What would happen if he just
>> thought them?  Not with a voice-over, but silently, in his
>> own head, accompanied by only those gestures that a person,
>> lost in agitated thought, might make.
>
>Didn't Mel Gibson do just this in his film version of Hamlet?

No, he didn't.  Zefferelli played the scene in the family crypt around the tomb
of King Hamlet, transposing it and the "nunnery" scene and placing them both
before the arrival of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The soliloquy was spoken
aloud, though...

As for M. Friedman's original idea, I disagree.  Like most lovers of
Shakespeare, I have heard this soliloquy so many times that it is locked in my
memory.  However, I still *listen* to it, every time, and it always speaks to
me-- and I suspect that's true of most people. While it's an interesting
concept, and it might be intriguing to see it done this way *once*, I suspect
most of us would be taken out of the play and into the _game_ of matching the
actor's facial expressions to what we think Shakespeare's underlying words
are-- hardly the place Shakespeare would want his audience during this
particular soliloquy.

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bradley S. Berens <
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Date:           Saturday, 6 Jan 1996 11:32:44 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Robert Hamilton Ball's Book on Silent Film Shakespeare

Dear Shakespeareans amd SHAKSPERIANS,

There has been some slight interest in Robert Hamilton Ball's book SHAKESPEARE
ON SILENT FILM: A STRANGE EVENTFUL HISTORY, so I thought I'd provide both a
full citation as well as places where it might be available. There was an
American and a British edition:

Ball, Robert Hamilton, 1902-   Shakespeare on silent film; a strange eventful
history.  New York, Theater Arts Books 1968.

Ball, Robert Hamilton, 1902-  Shakespeare on silent film: a strange eventful
history.  London, Allen & Unwin, 1968.

I got my copy at Larry Edmunds Cinema and Theater Books in Hollywood years ago,
and they had a stack of copies.  #(213) 463-3273.

Also worth checking:

Moe's in Berkeley #(510) 849-2087

Powell's in Portland, OR #(800) 878-7323

Powell's in Chicago #(312) 955-7780

        AND, the indefatiguable

Richard Stoddard Performing Arts Books in NY, NY #(212) 645-9576.

If none of these pan out, let me know privately and I'll keep an eye out in my
travels. I've seen this book in the little used bookstores in Ashland at the
festival, but I don't remember any of the names at the moment.

Best of luck to the hunters!

        Sincerely yours,

        Bradley Berens
        U.C. Berkeley
        
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