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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: January ::
Re: Modern Adaptations
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0059  Monday, 19 January 1998.

[1]     From:   Shane R. Mueller <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Jan 1998 16:07:21 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text

[2]     From:   Hugh Howard Davis <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Jan 1998 17:38:26 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text

[3]     From:   Richard Nathan <
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        Date:   Saturday, 17 Jan 1998 05:14:49 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text

[4]     From:   Gary Kosinsky <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Jan 1998 19:41:56 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0054 Modern adaptations with new text

[5]     From:   E. Dietz <
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        Date:   Sunday, 18 Jan 1998 10:48:54 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text

[6]     From:   Brad Morris <
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        Date:   Sunday, 18 Jan 1998 16:29:09 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Shane R. Mueller <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Jan 1998 16:07:21 -0600
Subject: 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text

Bruce Fenton asks of any other Shakespearean adaptations.  Akira
Kurosawa's _Ran_ is based on _King Lear_ and "The Scottish Play."  His
_Throne of Blood_  is also based on _Macbeth_ .    If you like foreign
films they are both excellent choices.  In '91 Peter Greenaway directed
John Gielgud and Mark Rylance in an adaptation of _The Tempest_.  The
film is good, but Gielgud is brilliant!  You may also wish to e-mail
Tonya Gough.  She is on the list, and I'm sure she will also post a
response from "Poor Yorick" in Stratford, Ontario.

Happy viewing.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Howard Davis <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Jan 1998 17:38:26 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text

*Othello* has been updated a quartet of times, as -Catch My Soul-
(there's an alternative title of -Santa Fe Satan- as well; this is a
rock opera format) and -All Night Long- (a jazz club setting), as well
as -A Double Life- with Colman (1947) and -Men Are Not Gods- with
Sebastian Shaw (1936)--the latter two deal with actors trying to cope
with lives parallel to the stage.

Kurosawa's -The Bad Sleep Well- is a contemporary Japanese -Hamlet-,
while the same modern business treatment is offered for -JC- in -An
Honourable Murder- (1960, with Wm. Clements).  Traces of -Lear- can be
found in -The Big Show- (1961 w/Cliff Robertson), -House of Strangers-
(1949 w/ Eddie G.) (both part of a Warner Bros. cycle of remakes,
coupled with -Broken Lance-, a western remake), and -A Thousand Acres-
(1997 w/ Jason Robards, based on Smiley's novel).
-R&J- has of course been redone as -West Side Story- as well as
-Romanoff and Juliet-, the cold war resetting by Peter Ustinov.

Finally, -MacBeth- has been transformed into contemporary gangster films
twice:  -Joe MacBeth- (1956, with Paul Douglas) and -Men of
Respect-(1992, with John Turturro).

I think the Mazursky film has its merits, although it probably does fall
short of its potential.  I've changed from a similar opinion of -My Own
Private Idaho- to one of increasing appreciation.  I think Gus Van Sant
shows clever insight into the Henriad as he transfers the situations to
modern day.

Yours, Hugh Davis

PS  On a related (film) note, can anyone on the list help me track down
information and (most importantly) a copy of Derek Jarman's _Tempest_
film from the 1970s?

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Nathan <
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Date:           Saturday, 17 Jan 1998 05:14:49 +0000
Subject: 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text

I'll start out with my own adaptations.  I've written a full length
comedy stage play version of "HAMLET" as it might have been performed by
the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, and the Three Stooges.  You can
find it on the Internet at:

www.dramex.org\plays\scripts\elsinore.txt

I've also done a similar version of "KING LEAR" as it would have been
performed by W.C. Fields and other comedians, and I'm about halfway
through a version of "MACBETH" as it might have been performed by Abbott
& Costello.  (Macbeth is Lou Costello.  Lady Macbeth starts out as a
woman, but she turns into Bud Abbott after she asks the spirits that
tend on mortal thoughts to unsex her).  Those aren't on the internet,
but I'll send the complete Lear and the first half of Macbeth to anyone
who asks for them.

As far as adaptations by others, these are the ones that spring to mind:

PLAYS
TWELFTH NIGHT =  YOUR OWN THING  (sixties rock musical)
ROMEO & JULIET =  WEST SIDE STORY
TAMING OF THE SHREW = KISS ME, KATE
COMEDY OF ERRORS  =  BOYS FROM SYRACUSE

FILMS
MACBETH =  JOE MACBETH;  MEN OF RESPECT;  THRONE OF BLOOD
KING LEAR  =  RAN;  A THOUSAND ACRES
HAMLET =  STRANGE BREW
OTHELLO =  CATCH MY SOUL,  JUBAL,  A DOUBLE LIFE
TEMPEST =  FORBIDDEN PLANET
COMEDY OF ERRORS =  BIG BUSINESS (1988);  OUR RELATIONS (1936)

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gary Kosinsky <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Jan 1998 19:41:56 -0800
Subject: 9.0054 Modern adaptations with new text
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0054 Modern adaptations with new text

Try checking out Akira Kurosawa's "Ran", in which the Japanse director
is heavily influenced by " King Lear". It's a very good movie.

Also, "Prospero's Books" by director Peter Greenaway is worth a look.
Starring John Gielgud, it is an interpretation of "The Tempest" that has
to be seen to be believed.  You'll either love it or hate it (I love
it).

- Gary

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           E. Dietz <
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Date:           Sunday, 18 Jan 1998 10:48:54 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text

"Shakespeare on Film," a reference work, lists adaptations of
Shakespeare both by play (with short descriptions) and in a separate
index.  It distinguishes these from interpretations which use the
original playscript-ie., Branagh's Hamlet is an interp, but "Forbidden
Planet" an adaptation.

Oh, and don't miss "Santa Fe Satan," the rock-musical version of
Othello.

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brad Morris <
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Date:           Sunday, 18 Jan 1998 16:29:09 EST
Subject: 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0054  Modern adaptations with new text

Well, you mentioned "My Own Private Idaho," which is 1 & 2 Henry IV, but
there's also Akira Kurosawa's "Ran," an adaptation of Lear (and one of
the most beautifully-filmed works I've ever seen), and there's "West
Side Story," obviously an update of R&J.

I just finished a rather lengthy paper on this subject-Modern Retellings
of the Works of William Shakespeare. Hopefully, you'll get to read it in
the Shakespeare Quarterly, that is, if I ever get off my butt and send
it in for consideration.

Brad
 

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