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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: August ::
Best Cinematic Hamlet?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1558  Friday, 20 August 2004

[1]     From:   Charles Weinstein <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 08:13:09 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

[2]     From:   James McNelis <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 08:19:34 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1549  Best Cinematic Hamlet?

[3]     From:   R. A. Cantrell <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 07:56:22 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

[4]     From:   Bruce Richman <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 08:10:01 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

[5]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 16:51:11 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

[6]     From:   Cheryl Newton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 12:28:31 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

[7]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 19:25:52 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

[8]     From:   Matt Henerson <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 16:49:12 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

[9]     From:   Kathy Dent <
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        Date:   Friday, 20 Aug 2004 01:52:01 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Charles Weinstein <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 08:13:09 -0400
Subject: 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

Stephen Rose asks:

"Who is the best cinematic Hamlet?"

Derek Jacobi, in the same BBC production that you deplore.

--Charles Weinstein

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James McNelis <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 08:19:34 EDT
Subject: 15.1549  Best Cinematic Hamlet?
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1549  Best Cinematic Hamlet?

If the question may be phrased as "what is the best film adaptation of
Hamlet," I agree with my theatre colleague Wynn Alexander's preference
for Kevin Kline's, which I had never heard of before he recommended it
(this is actually a video, not a cinematic film, but like the Nunn
Macbeth it may take pride of place in spite of that). For teaching
purposes I also continue to find Branagh's useful, especially for the
uncut player-king speech and Hamlet's soliloquy following it.

All best,
James McNelis

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. A. Cantrell <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 07:56:22 -0500
Subject: 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

 >Who is the best cinematic Hamlet?

Mel Gibson.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Richman <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 08:10:01 -0500
Subject: 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

Nicole Williamson: his character is conspicuously intelligent, intensely
anxious, and absolutely furious. The quiver in his voice belongs to a
man pushed all the way to the edge.

Bruce Richman
Dept. of Psychiatry
University of Missouri School of Medicine

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 16:51:11 +0100
Subject: 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

Innokenty Smoktunovsky.

Febrile, haunted in more senses than one, bewildered by fate, grimly
determined to march on, quietly boiling with both a kind of contained
rage like an underground fire, and a black, Russian melancholy.

B/W film, Shostakovich music, brooding locations, huge sky- and
landscapes (one is reminded of Brook's beach scene in Act 4 of his
'Lear' at times), and Kozintsev's inspired direction.

It's not the complete text by any means, but as pure 'cinema', IMHO,
unrivalled.

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cheryl Newton <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 12:28:31 -0400
Subject: 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

 >So the question is:
 >
 >Who is the best cinematic Hamlet?

What the heck - I'll reveal my lack of judgment.  I've seen Olivier,
Williamson, Jacobi, Chamberlain, Kline, Scott, Gibson, Hawke, & one or
two others.  Campbell Scott is superb.  The 3 hr production is
well-edited, & almost flawless except for an annoying piano sound track
& some fumbling of the final death scene.  There's some original staging
that's very effective, including the "Swear" scene with the underground
ghost, & a silent bit just before "To be or not to be."  Scott plays
Hamlet as a fairly well controlled manic depressive, maximizing the mood
swings without over playing them.

If this production has been below your academic radar, I highly
recommend it. Enjoy!

Cheryl

PS to my list: Branagh, a ballet, The Reduced Shakespeare Company (a
must see~ you'll get a 30 min, 5 min, & 1 min version, AND a backwards
version), & I know there're a few other things in my collection, but my
housemate has moved them into hiding.

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 19:25:52 +0100
Subject: 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

Stephen Rose asks ...

 >Who is the best cinematic Hamlet?

Olivier.  His narcissism may be offputting (though it's no worse than
Branagh's), but who can resist those mellifluous tonsils?

And if you did mean a "cinematic" Hamlet (rather than a filmed play), my
second choice is Zeffirelli's version with Mel Gibson.

Peter Bridgman

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matt Henerson <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 16:49:12 EDT
Subject: 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

As far as I'm concerned, you're watching it.  I found much to cry out
against in the BBC series, but Jacobi's performances as Hamlet and
Richard II are the most muscular and exciting I've ever seen in either
role.  That said, I am a (reluctant--ever since "The Passion of the
Christ") fan of Mel Gibson's performance, particularly in the context of
a visually rich and textually basic film.  I think Gibson might have
said less than half of the lines that Jacobi did.  But in the role
itself, nobody comes close to Jacobi, for my money.  I wish I'd seen him
do it live.

Matt Henerson

[9]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kathy Dent <
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Date:           Friday, 20 Aug 2004 01:52:01 +0100
Subject: 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1549 Best Cinematic Hamlet?

 >Who is the best cinematic Hamlet?

Branagh.  No contest.

Kathy Dent.

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