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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
It's Only a Movie
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1101  Monday, 22 April 2002

From:           Charles Weinstein <
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Date:           Sunday, 21 Apr 2002 16:56:39 -0400
Subject:        It's Only a Movie

Some refreshing common sense from a scholar who refuses to grovel before
the Great God Film:

"Viewers of a movie version of a Shakespeare play rarely get its text
complete.  Often, by the time the director is finished updating and
adapting the play to the screen--adding music, rearranging scenes,
transposing the setting, and so on--little remains of the original
work.  What should be the occasion for thoughtful reflection on the
human condition is turned into just another Hollywood movie, sometimes
even an action/adventure flick (such as the Mel Gibson Hamlet, which
some of my students referred to as Lethal Bodkin), and almost always in
a form that emphasizes emotion at the expense of dramatic logic.  For
example, Baz Luhrman's version of Romeo and Juliet turned the play into
what amounted to a series of MTV videos, and was so geared to the
teenage market that at the time I proposed renaming it Saved by the
Bell: The Renaissance Years."  --Paul Cantor, "The Art in the Popular,"
Wilson Quarterly (Summer, 2001).

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