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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: February ::
The Best Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0141  Thursday, 29 February 2008

[1] 	From:	Gloria J Betcher <
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	Date:	Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 10:54:04 -0600
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0137 The Best Hamlet

[2] 	From:	Tad Davis <
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	Date:	Thursday, 28 Feb 2008 08:50:17 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0129 The Best Hamlet

[3] 	From:	Jack Heller <
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	Date:	Thursday, 28 Feb 2008 09:41:40 -0500 (EST)
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0137 The Best Hamlet

[4] 	From:	Tom Reedy <
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	Date:	Thursday, 28 Feb 2008 10:41:57 -0600
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0137 The Best Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Gloria J Betcher <
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Date:		Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 10:54:04 -0600
Subject: 19.0137 The Best Hamlet
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0137 The Best Hamlet

Having read this thread, I have to ask, didn't anyone else see Roger 
Rees's Hamlet for the RSC (1984-85)? His is still my favorite Hamlet, 
yet I've found few others who actually saw the production. I loved 
Rees's neuroses-come-to-life antic disposition. Granted, he was a bit 
old at 40, but I have never been as engrossed in the character (one I 
know well, and love watching) as I was seeing Roger Rees play him. He 
made me believe that Hamlet's feigned madness had become real. While 
I've seen and appreciated many of the Hamlets others have mentioned, not 
one of those Hamlets kept me as engrossed in the character as Roger Rees 
did.

Gloria Betcher

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Tad Davis <
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Date:		Thursday, 28 Feb 2008 08:50:17 -0500
Subject: 19.0129 The Best Hamlet
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0129 The Best Hamlet

I have to agree with Hardy Cook on Nicol Williamson's Hamlet. The film 
itself isn't great: it had a low budget, and the budget, or lack of  it, 
is visible in every frame. There are two moments in Williamson's 
performance that stand out for me: first, when he sees his father's 
ghost (for once, I believed in the ghost, even though he never 
physically appears in the film); and second, his initial reaction to the 
killing of Polonius. I've never heard the line "Nay, I know not; is it 
the King?" delivered more convincingly.

I also disagree with most critics of the film about Gordon Jackson: I 
think he makes a wonderful Horatio, and the relationship between Hamlet 
and Horatio seems deep and real.

It's a film I hope will someday be available on DVD, with the print 
spruced up a bit. My old VHS tape is worn out.

[Editor's Note: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has released a 
"spruced up" DVD (Widescreen 1.66:1, 2004) in the UK. The UK Amazon site 
sells it new for less than 4 pounds sterling, but then you will need a 
DVD player that plays any PAL or NTSC DVD from regions 0-6. You can find 
a variety of choices here http://www.samstores.com/Store.asp?CtgID=23. -HMC]

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Jack Heller <
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Date:		Thursday, 28 Feb 2008 09:41:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 19.0137 The Best Hamlet
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0137 The Best Hamlet

This is one of those threads in which I think some realities escape many 
of those replying-it certainly takes some advantages both economically 
and locationally to have seen enough staged Hamlets to form an opinion 
on the best Hamlet. I've only seen two staged Hamlets, one performed as 
a heroin addict at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, a good 
performance of a very bad idea, and the other Hamlet at Chicago 
Shakespeare in 2006. I have no idea how Ben Carlson of the Chicago 
production ranks in the scale of Hamlet performances, but I think there 
is a snootiness to try to choose the best among stars when (a) most of 
us will not have seen them and (b) the good productions we have seen 
will go largely unacknowledged.

I confess, I don't think "locationally" is an actual word, but I like 
its parallelism.

Jack Heller

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Tom Reedy <
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Date:		Thursday, 28 Feb 2008 10:41:57 -0600
Subject: 19.0137 The Best Hamlet
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0137 The Best Hamlet

David Evett wrote:

 >It is discouraging but not surprising to learn
 >that a lot of our posters comment only on filmed
 >versions of Ham (where much depends on
 >cinematographers and editors ) - swift movements
 >of eyes and facial muscles, even subtle vocal
 >inflections, don't make it to the more distant
 >rows of the main houses at either Stratford - and
 >not the thing on stage.

Well, we were after all speaking of the *best* Hamlets, and not all of 
us live near the east coast or in England. I have seen several staged 
productions in my part of the country (North Texas), one of them quite 
good, but none of them near the quality of the filmed versions that have 
been named.

Tom Reedy

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