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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
Re: Multiple Takes, Branagh's *Hamlet*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0027.  Thursday, 9 January 1997.

(1)     From:   John Cox <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 08 Jan 1997 16:16:37 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Multiple Takes in Shakespeare Films

(2)     From:   Satia B. Testman <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Jan 1997 15:27:34 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0023  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*

(3)     From:   Framji Minwalla <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Jan 1997 15:44:25 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0023  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Cox <
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Date:           Wednesday, 08 Jan 1997 16:16:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Multiple Takes in Shakespeare Films

I was interested to read Andy White's comment that Derek Jacobi reports up to
eight takes on a single scene from Branagh's *Hamlet*.  It reminded me of Ian
McKellen's conversation with the audience after his movie of *Richard III*
premiered at the Cambridge Arts Cinema last spring.  Someone asked him how many
takes were made of a typical scene in his movie and how much the final film
therefore depends on the actors, as opposed to the director and the film
editor. His reply was that very few scenes involved more than one take, because
the film was on such a strict budget.  He remembered that the very long scene
where Richard, Anne, and Buckingham watch movies of Richard's coronation was
shot twice, because the director was afraid of committing so much film without
a back up.  In the end, however, they used the first take uncut.  For those who
know the film, this reply is a stunning tribute to the quality of its acting.
It was McKellen's first cinematic acting (as opposed to movies for television
or videorecording), and he added (more modestly than my description can
capture) that for an actor who only ever had one chance to do it right on
stage, doing it right for the movies was no challenge.

Cheers,
John Cox

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Satia B. Testman <
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Date:           Wednesday, 8 Jan 1997 15:27:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0023  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0023  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*

Dear Andy

In my humble opinion, arrogance would be the response called for.  I mean how
arrogant can you get murdering a man then marrying his widow, etc.  Of course
he would recognize what the play's about, he is no fool.  But he would choose
to ignore it, seeth in silence, plot his revenge even as he toasts, etc.

But then I may be completely off base on this one.

Satia R. Testman

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Framji Minwalla <
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Date:           Wednesday, 8 Jan 1997 15:44:25 -0500
Subject: 8.0023  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0023  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*

As Peter W. Ferran argued in a paper delivered many, many years ago at small
Shakespeare conference, Claudius understands what Hamlet's up to immediately
after the "dumb show."  Many productions either cut this section or have
Claudius distracted to make sense of his responses after "The Mousetrap."  But
there's no reason to think his cries represent a recognition at that point.
What if he spent much of this time figuring out "how" to respond.  This
certainly makes the scene, and Claudius' subsequent confession, more
interesting.  It should be obvious that Claudius is by far the better plotter,
and that Hamlet's attempts "to catch the conscience of the king" are clumsy at
best.

     Framji Minwalla
 

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