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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: February ::
Re: Branagh's Hamlet/s
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0194.  Wednesday, 12 February 1997.

(1)     From:   Tad Davis <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Feb 1997 11:43:08 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: Branagh's Hamlet

(2)     From:   Ed Peschko <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Feb 1997 11:46:21 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   Branagh vs. Branagh

(3)     From:   Ed Peschko <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Feb 1997 12:04:16 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0188  Re: Branagh's HAMLET


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tad Davis <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Feb 1997 11:43:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Re: Branagh's Hamlet

John Velz wrote:

> ... I said this to these hundreds of students because I was trying to
> get them to see that good style in writing is like good background music
> in a film: it does its work unnoticed.  The reader thinks he is making
> direct contact with the subject you are writing about because nothing in
> the prose calls attention to itself.

These words reminded me of an old book I encountered as a playwriting student:
"How's Your Second Act?" by Arthur M. Hopkins (NY: Philip Goodman Company,
1918). The book was aimed at directors rather than playwrights; Hopkins' main
point was that the director's job was to get out of the way of the writing. One
of my fellow students put me onto the book; he said it was one of the best
descriptions of the whole play-building process, including the process of
writing, he'd ever read. It's been 20 years, and I don't know if I'd still
agree, but I do remember reading it at the time with great pleasure.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Peschko <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Feb 1997 11:46:21 -0700 (MST)
Subject:        Branagh vs. Branagh

Hey all --

I was wondering if anybody has seen both Branagh's movie and heard Branagh's
BBC production (available on CD).

If so, I'd be interested in any contrasts between the two..

Ed

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Peschko <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Feb 1997 12:04:16 -0700 (MST)
Subject: 8.0188  Re: Branagh's HAMLET
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0188  Re: Branagh's HAMLET

>From:           John Velz <
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>Like Troy Swartz, I have not yet seen the Branagh *Hamlet* nor heard its score
>by Patrick Doyle.  Yet I want to jump in in response to Troy's comment:
>
>>Granted, Doyle's music has won awards, but it still does not change
>>the fact that the score is sometimes a bit too overbearing, masking the
>>important events of a film, . . .
>
>When I was a professor of English I told students hundreds of times that
>Hollywood always gives the Academy Award to the wrong music; you can take it
>out of its film and play it in Carnegie Hall.  The truly great music in a film
>is seldom noticed by the conscious mind, but works subtly and subliminally.
>You emerge from the theater commenting happily on the director, the principals
>and the cinematography, and seldom say much about the music, unless it was bad.

Well -- this is not *always* so...

The movie 'Unbearable Lightness of Being' shows this. Janacek's music
seamlessly fits into the movie, yet in many ways is the movie's star... It is
sweeping, emotional, playful, and absolutely stunning.

The same practice works well with A Clockwork Orange, 2001, and pretty much
anything that Kubrick did.

I think that the difference between the above films, and Hamlet is that
'sweeping, grand' music doesn't work well in films with lots of dialogue,
which, well -- a Shakespearian movie should have.

And even then -- I think that directors should stick to classical music,
instead of hiring composers to put out pure syrup.

Ed
 

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