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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Hamlets
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1109  Tuesday, 23 April 2002

From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Apr 2002 11:09:29 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.1087 Re: Hamlets
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1087 Re: Hamlets

I always thought that part of the reason for casting Mel Gibson in the
part is that he was instantly recognized as an action hero and could
handle the verse. The sense of frustration at Hamlet for his inability
to revenge is played out perfectly in our expectations of Gibson in a
film, which are continually thwarted. It takes the ability to place
oneself in the moment of the play and release our knowledge of what is
going to happen (espoused by Keats in his reading of the plays but
especially difficult with a play as well known as Hamlet). Then we
understand that it is increasingly frustrating for a charismatic "Lethal
Weapon" to be dulled and muddied in internal intellectual debate. At
least that is Zefferelli's angle in this film.

That said, I am not totally satisfied by the film, but at least I
understand the interesting casting of its characters. I agree (gulp!)
with Charles. A miracle! Charles does indeed like something, ANYTHING,
about Shakespeare performance in the last 40 years.  Scofield's ghost is
my favorite and what I believe to be the most effective so far. No
special effects, just an actor using his voice to subtle effect and a
director known for his flamboyance taking the subtle route as well. To
use Charles's words, which are so well put that they must be read again:

> The worldly and
> otherworldly agony that thrills
> and trembles through his voice!  Yet he does it with
> the utmost
> restraint and delicacy.

Charles, why can't you produce something this well put every time you
post? It is tiring to read endless negative commentary but so
invigorating to read these words here. Personally, I would love to
respond positively again. There are too many good things to write about,
many other topics that can produce intelligent and thought-provoking
discussion. Bravo for taking the first step towards a more positive
thread discussion.

Cheers,
Brian Willis

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