The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2544  Monday, 5 November 2001

From:           Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 02 Nov 2001 23:20:40 -0800
Subject:        Michael Almereyda's Hamlet

A friend, and SHAKSPER asked me to post this for her.

Mike Jensen

>>>Bernice W. Kliman writes:

I enthusiastically recommend Michael Almereyda's film script for his
2001 Hamlet film with Ethan Hawke. It is a moving account of his
struggle to get his film made on 16mm for only 2 million. The book,
"William Shakespeare's Hamlet: A Screenplay Adaptation by Michael
Almereyda," was published by Faber and Faber (London, 2001) and is
distributed it seems only in England. Anyone who wants to understand
making films based on Shakespeare should read Almereyda's lucid, honest
and intelligent comments and explanatory notes.

The film has not had a fair chance to reach its audience, but perhaps it
will do so on videotape. Panned by some critics, it is in my view a
brilliant evocation of Hamlet in modern New York. Made in the tradition
Kurosawa's The Bad Sleep Well, and Aki Kaurismaki's Hamlet Goes
Business, Almereyda's film goes these one better because it also has
Shakespeare's language. Diane Venora as Gertrude, Sam Shepherd as the
ghost, and Julia Stiles as Ophelia are fine performers, and Hawke as a
very young Hamlet illuminates the role as no 40-year-old can. But even
if you cannot see the film, the script is worth every film buff's
attention. ISBN 0-571-29689-1. The UK price is  

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