Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: Olivier's R3 (Gielgud's Hamlet)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2437  Wednesday, 24 October 2001

From:           John Owen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 23 Oct 2001 21:04:46 -0700
Subject: Re: Olivier's R3 (Gielgud's Hamlet)
Comment:        SHK 12.2414 Re: Olivier's R3 (Gielgud's Hamlet)

> Second, how on earth can Sam Small characterize Gielgud's _voice_ as
> 'mincing'?  Having heard Gielgud's detached, morose _Hamlet_, the panic
> and genuine fear in Clarence were a revelation to me.  It's got music,
> feeling, and if played in a full-sized theatre instead of a puny plastic
> box in one's front room, it raises the hair on the back of one's head.

I am sorry to see Gielgud's Hamlet characterized as detached and
morose.  Naturally, I don't know what version Andy White heard but I
would be willing to wager it's the lamentable 1957 "Old Vic" recording.
Gielgud speaks the verse beautifully, and the supporting cast is
uniformly able, but Sir John is clearly not at his best. Listless, and
yes, detached and morose. For a change of pace, and even a shock, I
recommend the 1951 Theater Guild recording. It's a transcript of a radio
broadcast, and Gielgud is quicksilver. This Hamlet is far closer to
accounts of his performance on stage -- gentle, but capable of riveting
intensity. The recording, long out of print, shows up now and then in
online auctions and library sales. The downside is a really inept
supporting cast and a brainless abridgment to approx 90 minutes. Oh
well. Can't have everything.

John Owen

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.