Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Hamlets
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1066  Thursday, 18 April 2002

[1]     From:   Marcia Eppich-Harris <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Apr 2002 09:50:09 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1061 Re: Hamlets

[2]     From:   R.A. Cantrell <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Apr 2002 09:54:38 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1061 Re: Hamlets

[3]     From:   Martin Steward <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Apr 2002 17:34:37 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1061 Re: Hamlets

[4]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Apr 2002 19:52:52 -0400
        Subj:   Fw: SHK 13.1061 Re: Hamlets

[5]     From:   Anna Kamaralli <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 18 Apr 2002 12:12:55 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1040 Re: Keep Looking

[6]     From:   John Owen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Apr 2002 21:06:47 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1061 Re: Hamlets

[7]     From:   Sam Small <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 18 Apr 2002 11:38:05 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1061 Re: Hamlets

[8]     From:   Douglas Buchanan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 18 Apr 2002 09:06:43 -0400
        Subj:   Hamlets


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcia Eppich-Harris <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Apr 2002 09:50:09 -0500
Subject: 13.1061 Re: Hamlets
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1061 Re: Hamlets

Charles Weinstein wrote:

>In the final analysis, though, I'd have to give the
>Arsecar to Branagh.  He includes more text, and therefore sucks at
>greater length.

That has to be the funniest thing I've read in about a year.

I liked Gibson as Hamlet, but I totally disagreed with the closet scene
in which it looks like Hamlet is raping Gertrude, and she responds with
a big, sloppy kiss. Pardon my, perhaps, immature response: EWH! I know
that there has been a lot of study on Oedipal Hamlets, but for God's
sake, ease up on the humping. Doesn't seem to me that there's ANY
textual evidence that suggests Hamlet practically rapes his mother, like
a terrier sexually assaulting an unsuspecting leg.

Marcia

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R.A. Cantrell <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Apr 2002 09:54:38 -0500
Subject: 13.1061 Re: Hamlets
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1061 Re: Hamlets

> Which Hamlet is worse, Gibson's or Branagh's?  It's a poser, since
> they're both so awful.  Gibson is a plangent lunkhead; Branagh is a
> ranting twerp.  Gibson is flatfooted and graceless; Branagh has no
> voice.  There is nothing going on behind Mel's beautiful blue eyes;
> there is nothing but calculating vanity behind Ken's.  Hulking stupidity
> on the one hand, narcissism and billingsgate on the other:  how can one
> possibly choose?  In the final analysis, though, I'd have to give the
> Arsecar to Branagh.  He includes more text, and therefore sucks at
> greater length.
>
> --Charles Weinstein

Thank you Sir,

Have you seen a filmed Hamlet that you approve? One that you enjoyed
though did not approve? Surely not Leaping Larry's? Nicole Williamson's?
Is including more text necessarily a virtue, or is it more pretended
fidelity to an irrational ideal?

All the best,
R.A. Cantrell
<
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Apr 2002 17:34:37 +0100
Subject: 13.1061 Re: Hamlets
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1061 Re: Hamlets

"Which Hamlet is worse, Gibson's or Branagh's?  It's a poser, since
they're both so awful.  Gibson is a plangent lunkhead; Branagh is a
ranting twerp.  Gibson is flatfooted and graceless; Branagh has no
voice.  There is nothing going on behind Mel's beautiful blue eyes;
there is nothing but calculating vanity behind Ken's.  Hulking stupidity
on the one hand, narcissism and billingsgate on the other:  how can one
possibly choose?  In the final analysis, though, I'd have to give the
Arsecar to Branagh.  He includes more text, and therefore sucks at
greater length."

One must conclude that "Proteus's" negative capability has been
stretched over the past couple of posts. "This above all: to thine own
self be true, / And it must follow, as night the day, / Thou canst not
then be false to any man". SHAXICON is now woefully confused...

m

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Apr 2002 19:52:52 -0400
Subject: 13.1061 Re: Hamlets
Comment:        Fw: SHK 13.1061 Re: Hamlets

I have to agree with Charles Weinstein:

> Which Hamlet is worse, Gibson's or Branagh's?  It's a poser, since
> they're both so awful.  Gibson is a plangent lunkhead; Branagh is a
> ranting twerp.  Gibson is flatfooted and graceless; Branagh has no
> voice.  There is nothing going on behind Mel's beautiful blue eyes;
> there is nothing but calculating vanity behind Ken's.  Hulking stupidity
> on the one hand, narcissism and billingsgate on the other:  how can one
> possibly choose?  In the final analysis, though, I'd have to give the
> Arsecar to Branagh.  He includes more text, and therefore sucks at
> greater length.

Personally, I like Mel Gibson, but not as Hamlet. He's a perfect film
actor otherwise. I think he makes a sincere effort to tackle "The Role"
but is so far out of his element (and is working with a director whose
lack of depth is legendary) that he's doomed to failure. I feel for him!
Branagh, on the other hand, pretends to be the successor to "the grand
tradition" of Gilegud, Richardson, Olivier, et al, but lacks (YES) the
voice, the intellect, and the humility needed. He has no excuse for the
miserably dull and muddy-medaled Hamlet that he made.

Paul E. Doniger

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anna Kamaralli <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 18 Apr 2002 12:12:55 +1000
Subject: 13.1040 Re: Keep Looking
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1040 Re: Keep Looking

>Does anyone believe that Mr Gibson understood or knew the meanings of
>the words he spoke?
>
>Gibson is a plangent lunkhead... There is nothing going on behind Mel's >beautiful blue eyes;

As an Australian, a teacher and a theatre practitioner I am starting to
get very stroppy about the ongoing assumption that Mel Gibson is some
kind of cretinous illiterate.  Don't you think we train our actors down
here?

Gibson studied at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney,
which is roughly our equivalent of London's Central School of Acting. (I
use the comparison advisedly.  In my opinion the Victorian College of
the Arts is our closest equivalent to RADA, and the West Australian
Performing Arts Academy is more like Bristol Old Vic).  This means a
three year, full time course that includes theory, history and
dramaturgy, in addition to the practical work.  I know directors who
have worked with him, and have never complained about a lack of
intellectual engagement with the text.  If this had been a problem for
him, he would have had difficulty finishing the course.

If you find the standard of Gibson's acting lacking it is not due to a
deficiency in grey matter or education.  Just because an actor ends up
working in film doesn't mean he doesn't know who Shakespeare is.  What
do you think young, male actors do while they're studying if not read
and argue about Hamlet?

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Owen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Apr 2002 21:06:47 -0700
Subject: 13.1061 Re: Hamlets
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1061 Re: Hamlets

Charles Weinstein and I agree on many, if not most, points. I wouldn't
respond, except that I don't think the entire story is told. I have
never seen a film or television production of Hamlet that didn't leave
me dissatisfied and even exasperated. But in looking back on the many
versions, I am forced into a mindset similar to that of the late great
JC Trewin, author of Five and Eighty Hamlets. The first Hamlet you see,
that first incarnation, is the experience of seeing Hamlet. Ever
afterward, you tend to see bits and pieces that particularly impress.
And so the Hamlet addict, as it were, is doomed to flit from flash to
flash, inspiration to inspiration, never a "perfect" or even
satisfactory experience to be found. Yet at the same time, I am unable
to give up those occasional moments of perfection, perhaps in the hope
that a lifetime of Hamlets will yield a perfect performance in the
aggregation of blurred memories.

So, yes. I find Gibson's Hamlet a plangent lunkhead, but am very
reluctant to give up Paul Scofield's oddly graceful Ghost, with its
unworldly gestures and resonant speech.

And I find Branagh's Hamlet thin of voice and exasperatingly shallow,
just where I most need a shimmering Renaissance profundity. Yet the
experience of seeing the whole play on film, in a movie theater, with
decent production values will make me forgive a lot, indeed.

And how much more? A lumbering, somnambulant film of Olivier's Hamlet is
redeemed by two breathtaking moments -- Hamlet's giddy pirouette of
victory at the end of the mousetrap scene, and a superb filming of the
Act V duel.

The BBC Hamlet is ultimately defeated by Patrick Stewart's cunning but
selfish underplaying of Claudius. Yet it preserves what may be the best
Hamlet on video. Derek Jacobi's Prince is meticulously planned and
beautifully executed. I am particularly fond of the Recorder Scene. I
don't think I've ever quite resented R and G so much.

And don't get me started on audio Hamlets!

John Owen

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 18 Apr 2002 11:38:05 +0100
Subject: 13.1061 Re: Hamlets
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1061 Re: Hamlets

I would agree with Charles here: "In the final analysis, though, I'd
have to give the Arsecar to Branagh.  He includes more text, and
therefore sucks at greater length." - and I haven't even seen the
Branagh Hamlet.  Did either of these overpaid artisans know what they
were talking about?  I'm sorry Charles, Pacino got a lot closer (albeit
in another play).  He was occasionally uncomfortable and a little clumsy
but he wasn't pretentious or, indeed, vain.

SAM SMALL

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas Buchanan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 18 Apr 2002 09:06:43 -0400
Subject:        Hamlets

The best Hamlet that I have seen on film (perhaps because it was the
first and not seen with the jaundiced idea of an older litcrit) was
Douglas Rain's Stratford (Ontario) offering. Twenty years later I got
the opportunity of working with him and my early appreciation of his
abilities was confirmed.

As far as Branagh vs. Gibson is concerned, it is relatively easy to
condemn all film Hamlet's (even Olivier's) in the fashion of Charles
Weinstein but I would definitely prefer to watch someone like Branagh,
who at least has a good idea of what he is saying, than Gibson who does
script analysis by cutting text. After that we enter the world of de
gustibus.

And then, of course, there's Kevin Klein, who cries his way through it.

_______________________________________________________________
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 Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

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.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.