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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: February ::
Re: Shakespeare in Love
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0261  Monday, 15 February 1999.

[1]     From:   Simon Malloch <
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        Date:   Saturday, 13 Feb 1999 22:38:17 +0800
        Subj:   Bloom on Shakespeare in Love

[2]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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        Date:   Monday, February 15, 1999
        Subj:   Shakespeare in Love


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Simon Malloch <
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Date:           Saturday, 13 Feb 1999 22:38:17 +0800
Subject:        Bloom on Shakespeare in Love

Here is an interesting insight into Harold Bloom watching movies,  not
to mention his thoughts on Shakespeare in Love.

Simon Malloch.

=======================================================
Bloom the Bardolator
The Yale scholar is charmed by 'Shakespeare in Love'-with a few
reservations.

By Yahlin Chang

In the cozy orange kitchen of an old shingled house in New Haven, Conn.,
Harold Bloom welcomes a visitor ("Come in, little bear!") and settles
into a chair in front of the VCR. The author of the surprise best seller
"Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human" has not yet seen the surprise
hit film "Shakespeare in Love." Starting up the tape, the visitor asks
Bloom to provide a running commentary. "Oh, Harold always talks his way
through movies," says his wife, Jeanne, bringing tea.  Bloom laughs.

"[Yale] Professor Vincent Scully and I used to get thrown out of movies
together because we'd get involved in these tremendous conversations."
From the moment the film flickers on, Bloom interacts with the screen
like a kid with a new videogame. When the moneyman threatens to cut off
the producer's nose, Bloom claps his hand to his own nose, giggling,
then covers his eyes and peeks through his fingers. When Shakespeare
(Joseph Fiennes) explains how Mercutio dies, Bloom exclaims, "He dies
beautifully!" and launches into: "Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find
me a grave man." And when "Romeo and Juliet's" theater gets shut down,
the professor cries, "Surely it can't end badly!"

Watching the film with Bloom Brontosaurus Bardolator (as he calls
himself) means you get every Shakespearean allusion instantly unpacked.
It turns out that the play Queen Elizabeth is snoring through is "The
Two Gentlemen of Verona." And Rosaline-Shakespeare's first love interest
in the film-is the name not only of Romeo's first girlfriend but of a
major character in "Love's Labour's Lost." Bloom identifies that
Rosaline with the "dark lady" of Shakespeare's sonnets ("the love of his
life!"), so he's naturally disturbed that the movie Rosaline turns out
to be the town slut.

The professor does not fall for Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays Viola-"A
wonderful actress, but not a beauty, is she?"-though he's quite taken in
by Fiennes. "Shakespeare was not particularly good-looking, unlike this
fellow," he says. "He had a drab exterior and was prematurely balding.
This is a marvelous gussying-up for him!"

The sequences taken straight from "Romeo and Juliet" delight him. Bloom
loves watching Shakespeare speak Juliet's lines-to him, the best in the
play. But listening to the lovers proclaim their affection makes him
cringe. "The language of 'Romeo and Juliet' is extraordinary, and then
this is a terrible falling away. It's common goo! They are not
star-crossed lovers; it's just good old-fashioned lust. They are not
Romeo and Juliet-but I suppose that's an impossible standard. I suppose
[writers] Mr. Stoppard and Mr. Whateverhisnamewas could say, 'Well of
course not, Professor Bloom. How could they be?' "

"Oh, Harold, the movie's fine, and it's a nice conceit," says Mrs.
Bloom.

"Yeah." Bloom ponders. "You know, I mustn't snipe, because this is a
charming movie. It does capture 'Romeo and Juliet.' And that I think is
the glory of it."

Newsweek, February 15, 1999

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Monday, February 15, 1999
Subject:        Shakespeare in Love

I saw for the second time this weekend Shakespeare in Love. I was
clearly incorrect in my attempting to make a pun about Kit's death, but
I stand firm that there was so much gender play in the film as to NOT
mark it as simply straight.
 

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