Shakespeare on Screen

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Shakespeare on Screen

Post  allochthonous on Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:13 pm

Because I do love a bit of the Bard, and judging by the love in the Kenneth Branagh thread, I'm not the only one. Branagh's films are some of my favourites (the Non Nobis Domine bit in his Henry V gives me chills just thinking about it, and his Much Ado is my go-to film of choice for when I need cheering up). I also like the recent trend of filming successful theatre productions, where the directors find a good halfway house between just shooting the theatre performance and a full-scale film adaptation (like the David Tennant Hamlet and the Patrick Stewart Macbeth).

I am beyond excited about the upcoming BBC film versions of four of the histories: they're doing Richard II, both parts of Henry IV and Henry V as part of the Cultural Olympiad (whatever that is), with the starriest of all-star casts. Henry IV part 1 is probably my favourite Shakespeare, and the prospect of Simon Russell Beale as Falstaff is making me hug myself. The trailer for the series is pretty fantastic (although they could go easy on the "epic" music). They've also released clips from each of the four films: John of Gaunt schools Richard and Patrick Stewart continues to be a BAMF even at death's door in Richard II; Prince Hal wears a natty hat (but not for long) and the Hiddlestoners scream in Henry IV part 1; Falstaff realises time is catching up with him and Simon Russell Beale breaks my heart in Henry IV part 2; facial hair and outrrrrageous French accents abound in Henry V. Advance word is that all four films are superb, so I am very, very psyched for these.
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  Luthien on Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:27 pm

Perfect timing for this thread! I probably would have started it myself, because I just got the BBC's "Shakespeare Retold" from the library, and I'm halfway through their retelling of "Macbeth" with James McAvoy as the title character, as a chef at a three-star restaurant. The witches are three bin men! Can't wait to watch the others: there's Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, and another one I've forgotten.

I recently rewatched "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1999) for the first time in a long time, and holy cow, Dominic West is Lysander! Never noticed that before. Kevin Kline remains completely awesome as Nick Bottom, and I love Stanley Tucci as Puck.

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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  Putli Bai on Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:02 pm

I'm sort of qualified for this thread - I watched Anonymous a few nights ago. I enjoyed it while it was on, but then I did a little historical fact checking, and ugh. Talk about your real-person fan fic.
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  Gallifrey Girl on Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:01 pm

When I saw Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing at the cinema, the audience broke into applause and cheers after Keanu said his first line. It was so funny.

And I must live up to my user name by mentioning David Tennant's Hamlet. Not being able to see it in person, it was a treat to be able to see the filmed version of that wonderful production. I never did Hamlet at school, and while familiar with the tons and tons of famous quotes, wasn't up on the whole play. After I watched it, I read up on it on the internet and was fascinated to learn about all the different versions that Shakespeare wrote, and how much of what is familiar is a mashup from the many versions.

And while not screen, but audio...my son did Twelfth Night in school this spring and came home one day and said the teacher had played an audio play of it, and he thought he'd recognised David Tennant's voice. We looked it up, and sure enough. Proud geek-Mom moment.

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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  queenofdenile on Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:00 pm

The Trevor Nunn Twelfth Night has got to be one of the best Shakespeare film adaptations out there. I love Imogen Stubbs as Viola SO MUCH.
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  allochthonous on Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:06 am

Ooh, Putli Bai, is that the one in which Elizabeth I boinks the Earl of Oxford who is actually her bastard son by someone else (or, erm, something of the sort)? I sort of want to see it just for the trainwreck factor.

Shakespeare Retold was great fun (I think my favourite was Taming of the Shrew, for the Rufus Sewell factor, but Billy Piper in the Much Ado was also an absolute treat) although I have't seen it for ages, I'll have to dig out the DVDs. I go back and forth on modern retellings, because I love the language so much, and no one really watches Shakespeare for the plot (which often has to be reworked a bit to make it more acceptable to modern audiences anyway), but when they're done well they can be awesome *goes off to rewatch Ten Things I Hate About You for the umpteenth time*
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  Menshevixen on Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:29 am

Heh, I just watched Shakespeare in Love last night because I was bored out of my mind. Doesn't really count, I guess. I did recently add the Ian McKellen King Lear and some crazy version of Macbeth starring Sam Worthington (?!) to my Netflix queue. I also really enjoy Scotland, PA.

Eternal Shakespeare-related sadness: I studied in London one summer, and the day I left was the day Patrick Stewart in The Tempest opened in Stratford. D:
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  Fiammetta on Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:34 am

queenofdenile wrote:The Trevor Nunn Twelfth Night has got to be one of the best Shakespeare film adaptations out there. I love Imogen Stubbs as Viola SO MUCH.

I agree! Her chemistry with Toby Stephens as Orsino was palpable (and doesn't he work the Van Dyke facial hair better than anyone?), and she managed the whole cross-dressing bit better than I've seen anywhere else.

I enjoyed the Shakespeare Retold movies, too, and man, is Rufus Sewell a perfect Petruchio or what? When he shows up to the wedding like that and Shirley Henderson decides to take him anyway, I can't exactly blame her.

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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  Lurker on Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:26 pm

I don't know if that actually qualifies as a Shakespeare movie, but Al Pacino's Looking for Richard is interesting. I especially enjoyed when the actors were debating about the motivations of their characters.

Not only is Dominic West in Midsummer Night's Dream, he is also Richmond in Richard III with Ian McKellan.

For offbeat Shakespeare, the Reduced Shakespeare Company is always good for a laugh.


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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  Luthien on Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:27 pm

I just watched Shakespeare in Love last night because I was bored out of my mind.

The power of the Bard: every time I watch that movie, and it reaches the end where they're performing Romeo and Juliet, I always get distracted by the actual play, and every time the play gets "interrupted" by the actual storyline of the movie (moving backstage, showing the audience, etc), I want to swat at the screen and say "get back to the play! I was watching that."

Speaking of the star-crossed lovers, early images of the latest version. I'm not terribly thrilled at the "wooing the Twilight crowd" angle mentioned in the article, but it's too early to know for sure; there isn't even a trailer yet.

I love the Reduced Shakespeare Company! I've got their DVD, and I've seen live productions of their show twice.

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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  Esseilte on Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:43 pm

I loved the Kenneth Branagh 'Much Ado' - saw it in the tiny cinema at my university town, and the cinema was packed. There was clapping, cheering - when the men ride over the hill at the start they each got varying levels of cheers and applause (and a version of 'meh' for one of them). Then at the end, the whole audience joined in with 'Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more' and got the words right and everything. I think people had maybe been to see it already! Brilliant fun, though.
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  Putli Bai on Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:25 pm

allochthonous wrote:Ooh, Putli Bai, is that the one in which Elizabeth I boinks the Earl of Oxford who is actually her bastard son by someone else (or, erm, something of the sort)? I sort of want to see it just for the trainwreck factor.


That is the one. I was all, "Fascinating! I don't remember any of this from history class." But then, I took history class in the real world.
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  PrincessCleo on Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:50 pm

My sister texted me all, "What do you think about that theory? I think the movie puts forth a compelling argument." I am serious, that was the actual text. I then had to be the one to explain how they made all of it up. I mean, you can't go around trumpeting how Trufaxually Accurate your movie is and then have [someone else] murder Marlowe three years after he actually died in a totally different way when we even know who really killed him. And that's for starters. Secret royal baby incest? Come on now.
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  epudom on Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:01 pm

The more I hear about this film, the more I want to see it...
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  queenofdenile on Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:28 pm

I'm really looking forward to the new Romeo and Juliet. Don't know if Hailee Steinfeld is good with the verse-speaking, but she was so good in True Grit and I can't wait.

I spit on the Oxfordian theory. (I know Derek Jacobi is an Oxfordian but I saw his Lear onstage - he can believe the Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote Shakespeare if he wants, I DON'T CARE, the man is brilliant.)
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  Red Wolf on Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:39 pm

Half-swording! I'm actually interested in this, because of the sword fight.

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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  ActonBell on Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:11 pm

I spit on the Oxfordian theory. (I know Derek Jacobi is an Oxfordian but I saw his Lear onstage - he can believe the Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote Shakespeare if he wants, I DON'T CARE, the man is brilliant.)

I do too. I think Oxfordians make a lot of classist and elitist assumptions about writing that just make me angry.
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  Luthien on Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:13 am

That's so disappointing about Jacobi. Now I'm almost afraid to ask, but are any other prominent Shakespearean actors Oxfordians (spit)? Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, David Tennant, either of the Fiennes, etc?

My mother tried to watch Anonymous as it recently started making the rounds on her satellite dish, and she came to me exclaiming, "What was that crap I just tried to watch? I had to shut it off! What is this garbage?" So I explained the Oxfordian theory, and when you actually start to say it out loud, it's even more ridiculous.

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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  queenofdenile on Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:52 am

I don't know about those actors you listed, but Mark Rylance is another one.

It's disappointing, but I also feel like if someone can act it that well, I don't care what s/he believes. The theory itself, though, *spit.*
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  Luthien on Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:52 am

Aw, man, Jeremy Irons, too? And Michael York? I wish I hadn't found this list. Oh well, they're all still good at what they do, so believe what you like, boys, even if it is dumb. I noticed on this list that there's only one woman listed; all the other confirmed supporters are men. No actresses, though there are likely some lurkers out there. Why pick on Shakespeare? I know he's the most famous English writer ever, but still. Do people go around saying Homer didn't write Homer, or Dickens didn't write Dickens, or Austen didn't write Austen? There are people who do, aren't there? I am definitely not looking for those.

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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  Menshevixen on Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:59 am

Heh, Luthien, your question reminds me of Mr. Meyerburg in Cold Comfort Farm who thinks Branwell Bronte wrote all the Bronte sisters' books.
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  blixie on Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:09 pm

I think when Anton Scalia purports a theory you know it's CRAP.

I just wanted to also give a shout to Scotland, PA as fun update on Macbeth, which is funny because I don't think I've seen any other version, thus have no idea what a traditional interpretation looks like.

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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  allochthonous on Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:58 pm

ActonBell wrote:
I spit on the Oxfordian theory. (I know Derek Jacobi is an Oxfordian but I saw his Lear onstage - he can believe the Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote Shakespeare if he wants, I DON'T CARE, the man is brilliant.)
I do too. I think Oxfordians make a lot of classist and elitist assumptions about writing that just make me angry.

Yep, this. Not to mention the fact that Oxford died before The Tempest and Macbeth (and others) were written. I just think of the anti-Stratfordians as the door-to-door Oxfordians in the Thursday Next series, and then my annoyance subsides.

I didn't know there was another R&J coming out. It's not my favourite play (was it someone from SF who posted the meme on FB a couple of days ago "it's a three-day relationship between a 13-year-old and a 17-year-old that caused six deaths" which pretty much sums it up for me) but I like that the actors all look age-appropriate and I know Hailee Steinfeld is supposed to be really good. They also seem to be going for a Zefferilli-esque feel with the costumes, which is nice but it is very difficult to take anyone seriously in the hat that Stellan Skarsgard is wearing in that photo.
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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  RiverThames on Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:05 pm

My favorite part of Anonymous-- and by "favorite" I mean, "Most WTF of a movie full of WTFery"-- is how in the production of Henry V, which is the first play put on by the anonymized Oxford, they are literally about four words into the play when everyone in the crowd, including the gaggle of Jaded Famous Playwrights, is completely astounded and dumbfounded by the shear brilliance of the playwright for crafting this holy text. Seriously. "O for a muse of--" is all it takes for everyone in the crowd to achieve simulatneous orgasm.


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Re: Shakespeare on Screen

Post  ActonBell on Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:01 pm

RiverThames, you're making me want to watch Anonymous! Maybe I'll catch it the next time I see it's on one of the movie channels, it sounds like it has a lot of comedic potential.
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