Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: July ::
Depp, Brando, and Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0670  Tuesday, 18 July 2006

[1] 	From: 	John Crowley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Friday, 14 Jul 2006 17:43:19 -0400
	Subj: 	Brando's Hamlet

[2] 	From: 	Brian Willis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Saturday, 15 Jul 2006 05:55:40 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0654 Depp, Brando, and Hamlet

[3] 	From: 	Charles Weinstein <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Saturday, 15 Jul 2006 10:35:12 -0400
	Subj: 	Depp, etc.


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Crowley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Friday, 14 Jul 2006 17:43:19 -0400
Subject: 	Brando's Hamlet

 >However, he lost
 >much of his ability to captivate in roles that required an accent.

This is the standard criticism of Brando -- that he slurred, mumbled 
etc.  All you need to do is look at his Antony to see how wrong this is: 
  it may be the most convincing Shakespeare performance by an American 
on film.  His Hamlet on film is among the imaginary movies I regret most 
not having.  As for accents, look at some of his other performances and 
notice how delicate and subtle is his care to reproduce accented (i. e., 
nonstandard American) accents:  the Texan in "The Chase" or the 
immigrant Italian in "The Godfather"; or the British imperialist in 
"Burn!" or another Brit in "Mutiny on the Bounty".  The mumble is one of 
those myths that can take over an actor or writer or any public figure 
that sticks in the public mind and can never be rooted out.  It must 
have irritated him hugely.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Brian Willis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Saturday, 15 Jul 2006 05:55:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 17.0654 Depp, Brando, and Hamlet
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0654 Depp, Brando, and Hamlet

Mike Shapiro writes: "However, he lost much of his ability to captivate 
in roles that required an accent."

Does playing Hamlet require an accent? Danish? English? Why can't he 
just enunciate clearly like he did in Mankiewicz's Caesar?

Interestingly enough, Brando is being projected here as a "tough-guy" 
Hamlet, when the elements that astonish me most about his acting is his 
remarkably intelligent and sensitive side. Even Stanley Kowlaski could 
be sensitive to Stella, in an animalistic way, although only after being 
threatened with losing her. And, in one of my very favorite films of all 
time "On the Waterfront", the choices that affect me most are his 
handling of the doves, the way he projects character through his 
handling of Eva Marie Saint's glove while wooing her, the look of 
wounded disappointment on his face as he pushes away Rod Steiger's gun 
in the "contenda" scene, a gesture that surprised Steiger in that final 
take (see the special features on the DVD). For all of the projections 
of who Marlon was, and the image of Brando as initial sex symbol turned 
into tough guy and later whacko, Marlon was a piercingly intelligent, 
sensitive and compassionate human being and actor. Sounds like a great 
Hamlet to me. We all know he was capable of the rage that Hamlet can 
display. He also had whole sections of Shakespeare memorized that he 
could recite at will, pulling out a Richard II quote in one of those few 
interviews he actually gave. He would have been surprisingly good I think.

Johnny Depp reminds me of Marlon in many ways. Perhaps his role choices 
are more quixotic than most of Marlon's (although, anybody seen 
"Candy"?), but Johnny has that chameleonic quality and dedication that 
could make him a surprisingly good Hamlet. My only question is: can he 
handle the lines? If he can, I would love to see it, onstage or on film.

     Brian Willis

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Charles Weinstein <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Saturday, 15 Jul 2006 10:35:12 -0400
Subject: 	Depp, etc.

Would Johnny Depp make a good Hamlet?  Well, that depends.  Can he speak 
the 400 year-old language with fluency, naturalness, ease, 
understanding, wit, subtlety, nuance, freshness, liveliness and truth? 
Or would he speak it as incompetently as DiCaprio, Pacino, Hawke, Reeves 
and Jack Lemmon?  As stiltedly as Kevin Kline, as monotonously as 
Campbell Scott, or as uncomprehendingly as Mel Gibson?  As callowly as 
Branagh, as turgidly as Beale, or as inconsequentially as Antony Sher? 
Could he touch the shoes of Olivier and Gielgud; or, at a somewhat lower 
level, McKellen, Jacobi, Howard and Redgrave (Michael) at their best? 
Once we know the answers to those questions, maybe we could hazard a guess.

--Charles Weinstein

_______________________________________________________________
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.