The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1583 Thursday, 22 June 2001
Date: Wednesday, 20 Jun 2001 14:13:55 -0400
Subject: Interpreting Branagh
Having read Graham Bradshaw's vitriolic take on Branagh's Henry V, I
have to wonder how he feels about the Olivier version that preceded it?
To call Branagh's version 'shallow' begs the question: in comparison to
what? However naive Branagh may have been in his own interpretation, if
we take Olivier's version as the standard (and I would argue that it
certainly was _the_ standard before Branagh, especially for the WW-II
generation that first saw it) his Henry has depth by the butt-load.
Olivier's Hal is squeaky-clean, no blood is spilt, and the battlefield
is unrealistically sunny.
The only real quarrel I had was that, as long as Branagh was going to
create a more realistic atmosphere -- rain, gallows and all -- I don't
see why he insisted on creating a 'hill' at Agincourt, when the field
itself is as flat as a pancake. Did he really need the "Comanches on
the hill" bit, with the French nobility standing in as Indians?
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