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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: September ::
Re: Branagh
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1690  Tuesday, 5 September 2000.

[1]     From:   Andrew W. White <
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        Date:   Monday, 4 Sep 2000 14:16:08 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1688 Branagh's As You Like It?

[2]     From:   Brian Walsh <
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        Date:   Monday, 4 Sep 2000 15:02:54 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1688 Branagh's As You Like It?

[3]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <
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        Date:   Monday, 4 Sep 2000 18:13:28 -0700
        Subj:   Fw: SHK 11.1688 Branagh's As You Like It?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew W. White <
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Date:           Monday, 4 Sep 2000 14:16:08 -0400
Subject: 11.1688 Branagh's As You Like It?
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1688 Branagh's As You Like It?

When we were at a screening for LLL, one of his company members opined
that his next project would be The Scottish Tragedy.  Good choice:
short script, hence no need for sweeping edits; a mixed history of
previous film treatments, and (perhaps) might fulfill the need to break
out of his goody-two-shoes image.

Andy White

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Walsh <
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Date:           Monday, 4 Sep 2000 15:02:54 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 11.1688 Branagh's As You Like It?
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1688 Branagh's As You Like It?

When Branagh started his new Shakespeare Films project, LLL, AYLI and
Macbeth were always going to be his first three films, so the news about
the latter two is part of a plan that's been in the works for a few
years at least.

I am a big fan of Branagh, but if LLL (which I saw this summer) is
representative of the quality we can expect of these films, I'm frankly
not looking forward to any of the rest.

I'd speculate he'll be Jaques, but I don't think he has a problem
casting himself for younger roles...and for his planned Macbeth--well, I
have a bad feeling it's going to look a lot like his other most
unfortunate picture, Frankenstein--lots of blood and shlock...I hope to
be proved wrong.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <
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Date:           Monday, 4 Sep 2000 18:13:28 -0700
Subject: 11.1688 Branagh's As You Like It?
Comment:        Fw: SHK 11.1688 Branagh's As You Like It?

Regarding Brannagh's next project: I'm looking forward to staying away!

Because of my work on my MA thesis, I finally broke down last week and
rented his "un-cut" _Hamlet_. ...  Yuck! His decisions about readings
seem based on the "What do I feel like doing with this bit" school; his
reading of verse is dull; his casting (with some great exceptions: e.g.
Richard Brier's Polonius) is mostly dreadful or dumb -- or both (Robin
Williams as Osric?! Charlton Heston as anything!?!?!?!, and poor Jack
Lemmon -- a 70 year-old castle guard?!?!); even his 'un-cutting" leaves
much to be desired: a little from Q2 and a little from F1, and I won't
even cut the non-sensical "Dram of evil" (an apparent printing error
makes mish-mash of this non-sentence). I thought this was worse than his
pop-culturized, also often mis-cast _Much Ado_! What's all this fuss
about him, anyway? Where are the real successors to the great British
tradition (you know, like Michael Pennington) -- I know that Ben
Kingsley and Ian McLellan are too old for Hamlet, but not for
Shakespeare on film (witness the recent Richard III), but Brannagh is
not in that league at all.

Sorry to sound so bitter and opinionated, but I was raised on much
better Shakespeare than the stuff that is mesmerizing audiences today.

Paul E. Doniger
The Gilbert School

P.S. - I did also (finally) see the Taymor _Titus_. Now that was much
better. It captured the spirit of the (very decadent) play and used
imaginative methods to connect it to a modern audience. Hopkins (as
expected) was grand, Jessica Lange superb, and the supporting cast
nearly perfect (I thought Marcus seemed a bit too young, but he
acquitted himself with style and intelligence).
 

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