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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: December ::
Re: Henry V (and Branagh)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2194  Tuesday, 14 December 1999.

[1]     From:   Paul Swanson <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Dec 1999 09:58:44 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.2173 Re: Henry V (and Branagh)

[2]     From:   Yvonne Bruce <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 Dec 1999 11:37:10 -0500
        Subj:   re SHK 10:2173

[3]     From:   Nicolas Pullin <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 Dec 1999 11:38:33 -0600
        Subj:   SHK 10.2173 Re: Henry V (and Branagh) -Reply


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Swanson <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Dec 1999 09:58:44 -0500
Subject: 10.2173 Re: Henry V (and Branagh)
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2173 Re: Henry V (and Branagh)

Another consideration-though purely speculative-to our discussion of
Henry V, Kenneth Branagh, and textual cuts might be the career of
Shakespeare himself.

After all, there is a reason that the young man who came from humble
Stratford beginnings closed his career as one of the wealthiest
residents.  Perhaps as gifted as Shakespeare the poet, so gifted was
Shakespeare the businessman.

I suspect, though admittedly without any substantial evidence, that if
Shakespeare were alive today, he would be in the film business, where
significant money is, and would recognize that the entire scope of
entertainment in today's modern world makes unnecessary a three and a
half-hour stage production.

Shakespeare knew his audience then and would know it now. Not only do I
believe that he would empathize with the cuts Branagh and others makes,
but I think he would perhaps mandate it himself. How would our listserv
react to that?

Love's Labour's Lost in 90 minutes? It does seem strange to take that
much language out of a play seemingly ABOUT language, but that is
perhaps why Branagh is making movies and I am only watching them.

Respectfully,
Paul Swanson

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Yvonne Bruce <
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Date:           Friday, 10 Dec 1999 11:37:10 -0500
Subject: 10:2173
Comment:        re SHK 10:2173

Regarding Ed Taft's response to Branagh's H5, dramatic cutting, and
cultural heroes:

Excellent post.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nicolas Pullin <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Dec 1999 11:38:33 -0600
Subject: Re: Henry V (and Branagh) -Reply
Comment:        SHK 10.2173 Re: Henry V (and Branagh) -Reply

In response to Karen Peterson- Kranz:

I certainly agree that Branagh is a far more skillful film maker than
Oliver Parker, but, though "Othello" itself is extremely patchy, I feel
that it is probably Branagh's best performance in Shakespeare on film.
Ironically, it is also the only one which he has not previously been
directed in on stage.  Only in some of the Hamlet scenes (eg. the
brilliantly filmed play scene) does he come close to the bold choices he
makes as Iago.  Even as Henry, his interpretation was engaging but
traditional-and varied very little from his performance at RSC.  This
response is not concerned with his directorial choices, but simply his
choices as an actor.

A separate thought: has anyone come across anything written about
Branagh's great debts to the stage productions of Henry/Much Ado/Hamlet
which informed not only his performances but even his designs, settings,
and interpretations?  Everybody praises his film, but the central
decisions were all inherited from Adrian Noble's (?) 1982 production.
 

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