The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0479 Monday, 14 October 2013
Date: October 11, 2013 12:14:07 PM EDT
Subject: RE: SHAKSPER: Crown and Roses
I’m afraid that I didn’t like ‘The Hollow Crown’ and I have a few critical comments on it in my forthcoming piece entitled ‘Shakespeare as Presentist’ in Shakespeare Survey. I haven’t seen the original ‘Wars of The Roses’ for some time, and the copy I saw was in black-and-white. There have been BBC programmes explaining its significance when first broadcast. The original Hollow Crown’ was saturated with 1960s cultural and political values, as compared with the new ‘The Hollow Crown’ that seems to me to be much more interested in visual effects; It appears that the actor playing Richard modelled his performance on the late Michael Jackson: as some would say ‘Go figure!’ it also does, as your comment indicates, some violence to the texts of the plays, not to mention providing Falstaff with the opportunity for a gratuitous sexual encounter with Doll Tearsheet. If I remember it correctly Fluellen et al. are cut too though I doubt very much that this has anything to do with the current debates about Scottish, Welsh or Irish devolution. The series is not sufficiently thoughtful for that, I’m afraid. There was a BBC documentary on the making of this version of The Hollow Crown that produced some vacuously bardolatrous comments from a British historian whose work I have never been able to trace, along with some reverent comments (alas) from James Shapiro if I remember correctly. That’s worth a look if you can get hold of it.