Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0734. Wednesday, 9 October 1996.
Date: Tuesday, 8 Oct 1996 10:54:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shakespeare on Film (VCR)
A simple request:
Where do you suggest I go to find the most reliable retail outlet for
Shakespeare on film in general, either originally made for the cinema or
theatrical performances captured on film? I have tried places like Blockbusters
here in New Orleans with no success. Where could I find a good and reasonably
priced professional VCR company that specializes in Shakespeare on film?
I have in mind especially the Peter Brook production of Lear with Scofield and
Richard III with Olivier.
I have a feeling that many other Shakespeareans, especially students, may wish
to know where to go for Shakespeare on VCR.
By the way, I have always loved the Scofield Hamlet on Caedmon records (Royal
Shakespeare Co.) made in the late 60's. I think that it remains the finest
Hamlet there is. But all I have is the audio. Was it ever filmed? As an
ensemble performance (judging by the audio), it remains, in my opinion, the
supreme performance. Ironcially enough, the Ghost in that production was
majestic and strangely both other-wordly and terrifying in its demand for
vengeance. All done with simple sound effects. You can hear Scofield turning
mad (and not merely acting mad) in his response to the Ghost's injunction. Why
ironic? Because in the latest Mel Gibson version (which I highly admire for its
epic interpretation, for making us aware of its Renaissance grandeur), Scofield
plays an all-too-human, Ghost pleading for a son's protection and revenge,-- a
major interpretative flaw, I think. Pity yes, but grandeur no.
Thanks in advance.