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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: February ::
Re: Branagh
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0302  Thursday, 8 February 2001

[1]     From:   Douglas E. Green <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 7 Feb 2001 12:07:17 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0285 Re: Branagh

[2]     From:   David Wilson-Okamura <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 07 Feb 2001 14:03:33 -0600
        Subj:   Re: Branagh

[3]     From:   David Bishop <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 7 Feb 2001 16:43:37 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0285 Re: Branagh

[4]     From:   Richard Nathan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 07 Feb 2001 21:52:23 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0285 Re: Branagh


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas E. Green <
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Date:           Wednesday, 7 Feb 2001 12:07:17 -0600
Subject: 12.0285 Re: Branagh
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0285 Re: Branagh

In his article on Branagh's "Henry V" in _Shakespeare on Film_, Curtis
Breight vents his spleen against the film-maker and gives some
convincing, largely political reasons for doing so.  I think he makes a
good case.  But I can't help myself: these films are so accessible that
they have proved--warts, bad politics, whatever--a great source of
discussion and interpretive debate in the classroom.  And they are a lot
less painful than a good number of the BBC productions.

And just for the record, if you're heartsick over the demise of the
Hollywood musical (I think there may be 5 or 6 of us dinosaurs), LLL
won't cure you, but it won't hurt any worse than Allen's _Everybody Says
I Love You_.  Branagh's strength is also his greatest failing: he is a
popularizer.  In the case of LLL, he mistakenly aimed at Busby
Berkeley's moribund audience instead of his own--which was fine with me.

Doug Green
Augsburg College

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Wilson-Okamura <
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Date:           Wednesday, 07 Feb 2001 14:03:33 -0600
Subject:        Re: Branagh

Paul E. Doniger wrote:

>                          Of course, Branagh has also made some
>seriously flawed choices: Keanu Reeves as Don John!? Charlton Heston as
>the Player!?

I'll give you Keanu Reeves, but I thought Heston's Player was quite
moving.  Like most people of my generation (I was born in 1970), I saw
Moses in The Ten Commandments on TV and that was about it. I knew that
Charlton Heston was a famous actor, but I didn't know why. Watching his
rendition of "The rugged Pyrrhus" speech I began to understand why. Of
course, then he blew it all by shilling for the NRA, but that's a
different story...

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Bishop <
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Date:           Wednesday, 7 Feb 2001 16:43:37 -0500
Subject: 12.0285 Re: Branagh
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0285 Re: Branagh

Though I find much to like in Branagh's Hamlet, especially Derek Jacobi
and Kate Winslett, I enjoy Charles Weinstein's attacks too, however
"unsupported". I would like more argument, since I'm interested in how
CW thinks, but there's not always time, and having even one's favorite
performances criticized can help clear away a few cobwebs.

David

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Nathan <
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Date:           Wednesday, 07 Feb 2001 21:52:23 +0000
Subject: 12.0285 Re: Branagh
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0285 Re: Branagh

Those who dislike Branagh's film productions of Shakespeare are
fortunate that the missed the stage productions of "Midsummer Night's
Dream" and "King Lear" that he took on tour a year or so after the did
the film version of "HENRY V."  Those stage shows were far worse than
any of his films.  As I recall, Emma Thompson played Helena is
"Midsummer Night's Dream" and the Fool in "King Lear," and she was the
ONLY good thing in either production.

I can't remember who played Lear in the tragedy, but he was completely
lacking in strength and majesty.  He was simply a pathetic little man
throughout the play.  The most memorable thing about the show was a rain
effect during the storm scene, which had a shower of rain NOT over the
entire stage, but just around the edge of the stage.

The thing I remember most from "Midsummer Night's Dream" was how Branagh
ruined the "Pyramus And Thisbe" routine.  Instead of playing it as
Shakespeare wrote it, he turned it into a big musical number.  It
destroyed the humor in the piece, but all the morons in the audience
where I saw it (in Los Angeles) loved it.
 

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