By Patrick J. Cook
Hamlet has encouraged 4 impressive movie variations that proceed to please a large and sundry viewers and to supply provocative new interpretations of Shakespeare’s preferred play. Cinematic Hamlet includes the 1st scene-by-scene research of the equipment utilized by Laurence Olivier, Franco Zeffirelli, Kenneth Branagh, and Michael Almereyda to translate Hamlet into hugely certain and remarkably potent films.
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Extra info for Cinematic Hamlet: The Films of Olivier, Zeffirelli, Branagh, and Almereyda
The fawning courtiers reply with a nervous laugh. 29 L aure nce Ol iv ier’s Hamlet The king’s ambulatory speech, an assertion of royal power during which the nodding and bowing courtiers closely observe his movement down the table, climaxes in the dramatic proclamation that Hamlet is “the most immediate to our throne” (109), delivered with a Roman salute and greeted with applause from the rising court and trumpet fanfare. Having countered Hamlet’s peevishness with this display of royal bravura, Claudius uses a brusque, scolding tone in his request that the prince not return to Wittenberg.
A harsh musical trill is followed by a return at “perchance to dream” (64) to the film style of the earlier segment: speech, no music, Hamlet isolated against the sky, an unmoving camera. Olivier delivers the soliloquy in its entirety but places special emphasis on ideas central to his overall interpretation: the heartache and fleshly shocks of the musical segment and, in the next segment,“the pangs of despised love” (72), a phrase highlighted by his looking directly into the camera. He eventually drops his dagger, perhaps signifying abandonment of the suicidal option.
The shot metamorphoses into Laertes’ point of view when Ophelia comes into sight over his shoulder, complicating our sense of the camera’s function and establishing an associative link between the two young men: answering a question planted earlier, the camera suggests that Ophelia was what Laertes wished to discuss with Hamlet at the end of the court scene. The music halts suddenly and a scene of smiling farewell converts into something more serious when Laertes examines the letter that his sister has been reading so intently.