1996

Shakespeare on Film -- Thanks!

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0742.  Friday, 11 October 1996.

From:           Benjamin Sher <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Oct 1996 01:20:33 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Shakespeare on Film -- Thanks!

My special thanks to Andy White, Bruce Kilman and Joanne Walen for their kind
help in locating Shakespeare film outlets. Again, my deep gratitude.

I am happy to hear that someone else thinks so highly of Scofield as Hamlet in
the late 60's RSC performance on Caedmon records. Was it the audio tract of a
filmed performance. Or is it only available in audio? A real treasure.

Benjamin

Mr. Wm. Shakespeare and the Internet Update

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0741.  Friday, 11 October 1996.

From:           Terry Gray <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 10 Oct 1996 18:12:38 -0700
Subject:        Update to Shakespeare Web Page

I would like to announce a significant update to the web site "Mr. William
Shakespeare and the Internet" at http://www.palomar.edu/Library/shake.htm. In
particular, the criticism section has been much expanded and improved, and many
new links have been added to the other pages.  The criticism page is at
http://www.palomar.edu/Library/SHCRIT.HTM.  I hope the Shakespeare community
continues to find the site useful.  If there are resources which should be
included at the site but are not as yet, please write me off list at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Thank you.

--Terry A. Gray

Re: Gielgud & Beauty and Hamlet to the Players

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0739.  Thursday, 10 October 1996.

(1)     From:   Clark Bowlen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 09 Oct 1996 12:26:50 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0733  Re: Hamlet to the Players

(2)     From:   John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Oct 1996 17:14:00 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 7.0733 Re: Gielgud & Beauty and Hamlet to the Players

(3)     From:   Andrew Walker White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Oct 1996 14:51:36 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0733 Re: Gielgud & Beauty and Haml


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clark Bowlen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 09 Oct 1996 12:26:50 -0500
Subject: 7.0733  Re: Hamlet to the Players
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0733  Re: Hamlet to the Players

Until we can send camcorders back in time, we will never surely know
Shakespeare's standard for good acting.  In the meantime, Hamlet's advice to
the players is as good as we can get with words. Their context argues that they
describe what Shakespeare's audience would consider the standard.  Hamlet is
giving the advice because he wants the player's performance to be convincing to
Claudius, else his test is out the window, and the play as a whole is, on one
level at least, about very high-stakes, very convincing acting--Claudius acting
innocent, Hamlet acting mad, R & G acting like friends, etc.

What we can't know is what the Elizabethans saw in Hamlet's mirror--probably
not what we see, at least entirely.  In fact, since 'convincing' is the _sine
qua non_ of acting, wouldn't Hamlet's words do for almost any age or culture?
Only to the extent that we beleive in the commonality of human experience
(certainly not a politically correct idea at the moment) can we argue that
Hamlet's words meant for Shakespeare what they mean for us.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 9 Oct 1996 17:14:00 +0100
Subject: 7.0733 Re: Gielgud & Beauty and Hamlet to the Players
Comment:        RE: SHK 7.0733 Re: Gielgud & Beauty and Hamlet to the Players

Dear Brad Berens,

You're forgiven.  Soccer isn't my game.

Best wishes
John Drakakis

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 9 Oct 1996 14:51:36 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 7.0733 Re: Gielgud & Beauty and Haml
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0733 Re: Gielgud & Beauty and Haml

My apologies for not citing my sources more clearly; my reference to Burbage
was not necessarily to Hamlet's speech, but to the contemporary observation
that Burbage never stepped out of character, even when he was backstage in the
'tiring house'.  As an actor trained in realism, this indicates to me that he
was a serious realist.

As for Hamlet's advice:  It _is_ seriously meant, IMHO, and risks alienating
the cast, depending on how the scene is played.  Realism is exactly what he
wants, he rejects the notion that you have to play the King like he was
Tamburlaine or Faust.

There is also the satire of the ur-Hamlet, in which a ghost is ridiculed for
sounding more like a fish-wife, a street peddlar, than a real ghost.

We can quibble about what constitutes realism, granted; My experience is that
standards of realism are very difficult to define, and change from one era to
the next, from one director to the next (e.g., Stanislavksi and Chekhov's spats
on Seagull).  What I was pointing out, and what has been missed, is that
Granville Barker learned a great deal about realism at the feet of Shakespeare,
and while we may find his take on it to be old-fashioned, it may have been a
very necessary step to take, given the kind of fare the London theatre scene
had at that time.

As for the element of realism in Shakespeare's plays, can we admit that perhaps
the soliloquoy was an accepted form of realistic acting, one that allowed the
actor-as-character to commune with the audience in a more natural way than
would otherwise be possible, given the other characters he/she has to deal with
on stage?

Andy White

Re: The State of the Profession

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0740.  Thursday, 10 October 1996.

From:           Kate Thompson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 10 Oct 1996 15:01:30 -0700
Subject: 7.0726  Re: The State of the Profession
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0726  Re: The State of the Profession

Re:  William Proctor Williams' comment:

>> Could it be that we (the faculty) are "not up to it"? <<

I think the most dangerous assumption an educator can make is that a student is
"not up to" a particular subject or assignment.  It is no wonder that many
youth today hold a negative view of the world: we keep assuming that they are
not capable without giving them a chance to try.

One of the most demanding groups of students I have ever spoken to about
Shakespeare in performance was a middle-school class. The median age in this
group was about twelve. Their teacher had fought the school district to teach
the class in the first place, because the school administration were determined
that kids that age were incapable of understanding Shakespeare.  It was
thrilling to see that the students had exceeded the expectations of everyone
involved.

The kids were facing their first real intellectual/educational challenge.  They
were excited, and they were starved for information. On the spot, they created
a production of "Macbeth" with modern political figures as the major
characters.  They asked good questions, and offered intelligent,
well-thought-out insights.  In retrospect, I think I learned more that day
about young people than they did about Shakespeare.

If more people would be willing to give their students a chance to work hard,
and to provide them with the encouragement needed to do it, I think they'd be
quite surprised at the results.

     Regards,
     Kate Thompson
     Toronto
     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Shakespeare on Film (VCR)

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0738.  Thursday, 10 October 1996.

(1)     From:   Bernice W. Kliman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Oct 1996 10:05:56 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0734  Q: Shakespeare on Film (VCR)

(2)     From:   Andrew Walker White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Oct 1996 14:58:36 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0734 Q: Shakespeare on Film (VCR)

(3)     From:   Joanne Walen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Oct 1996 18:19:29 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0734 Q: Shakespeare on Film (VCR)


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bernice W. Kliman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 9 Oct 1996 10:05:56 -0400
Subject: 7.0734  Q: Shakespeare on Film (VCR)
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0734  Q: Shakespeare on Film (VCR)

Benjamin Sher asks how to find a reliable retail outlet for Shakespeare on film
in general.  Two suggestions:  The oustanding resource is Kenneth Rothwell's
filmography *Shakespeare on Screen: An International Filmography and
Videography* (New York: Neal-Schuman:1990), which not only lists the important
items (and many obscure titles) with credits and other important datate, but
also offers succint reviews and rental, sale and archival sources.  The Indexes
and appendices provide a wealth of information.

Facets Multimedia is one of the retail sources that Rothwell lists: It can be
reached at 800-331-6197.  Based in Chicago, Facets sells as well as rents
films.  Though membership is not required, members benefit from free catalogs
(which can also be purchased) and a number of free rentals. Sometimes Facets
publishes a separate Shakespeare catalogue. This company is worlds apart from
Blockbusters.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 9 Oct 1996 14:58:36 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 7.0734 Q: Shakespeare on Film (VCR)
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0734 Q: Shakespeare on Film (VCR)

There are no catalogs I can think of that would include the Brook "Lear" in
their catalog, but I'll see if I have a few around.  It may interest you that I
once met the Russian poet Yevtushenko in NYC, and asked him about Vysotsky's
Hamlet, which was supposed to be the standard of his day when he played at the
Taganka.

Yevtuschenko contemptuously replied "Vysotsky only played Vysotsky.  Paul
Scofield is the best Hamlet."

As for Mel Gibson, it was as flat and derivative a film as I have ever seen,
and I was greatly disappointed.  Aside from resurrecting the utterly useless
Freud/Jones interpretation of the Oedipal complex, a very lazy choice to my
mind, I have to say that Gibson played a far better Hamlet in "Lethal Weapon".
Would that he had been allowed to play the madness in that mode, instead of the
one he adopted for the film.

Best of luck finding your videos,
Andy White

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joanne Walen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 9 Oct 1996 18:19:29 -0400
Subject: 7.0734 Q: Shakespeare on Film (VCR)
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0734 Q: Shakespeare on Film (VCR)

I too would be interested in finding such a company as you request. However,
the offerings from The Shakespeare Catalog put out by the Writing
Company(1-800-421-4246, also This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or their web site:
http://WritingCo.com/Shakespeare) have come as close as I have yet found to
lots of Shakespeare videos, reasonably priced. The RIII (Olivier) that you seek
is here for $14.95.

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