What are your favourite film adaptations of Shakespeare?
Branagh's Henry V has always been mine
I tried /tv/ but that was like trying to discuss Shakespeare on /tv/
This one is good. The Derek Jacobi prologue is super nice too.
I like the McKellan Lear (with weird Russian costumes) and the Patrick Stewart MacBeth (with the AK47s and creepy witches and soviet bunkers)
Always thought the DiCarpio Romeo and Juliet is a bit silly, as was the Ethan Hawke Hamlet.
You're going to get a lot of Chimes in the thread, but that's because it's fucking great.
King Lear 1971 was something I enjoyed, as well Ran, a Kurosawa adaptation of Lear.
Now that I'm thinking more, Richard III (with Ian McKellen) is well done.
I never liked Branagh's Henry V, or the play in general really. It just seemed like such lame propaganda.
I'm a fan of Henry VI and Richard III. The latter is constantly being remade, and the former never is...so I guess you have to take what you can get.
What makes Henry V so great to me is that, beneath that initial sheen of propaganda and Henry's supposed one-dimensional virtuous/warrior king role is a constant atmosphere of hypocrisy that, while not necessarily present in the dialogue, can be seen in little contextual clues throughout.
i.e. Falstaff dying of a "broken heart" because Henry betrayed him right before Henry executes the traitors (note much of what he says can accurately be attributed to Henry himself)
Henry's subtle way of making others do what he wants even if they're unaware of it (the initial scene with the Church officials pressured into funding him for France) and then shifting the blame to them (the archbishop literally says "the sin is mine" when Henry enquires about the legitimacy of war)
The lust for glory, riches and honour being universal among Henry and his ex-friends (Pistol, Bardolph etc.) and the not so subtle way The Boy lampoons his beggar brethren as scoundrels who "are not real men" when the same criticisms may be applied to Henry
It all comes together as less of a one-dimensional propaganda piece and more of a subtle commentary on universal humanity and the de-humanization necessary to ascend to any master morality. Henry is a genius politician and a great king but through the cracks in his armour we see the hypocrisy and sacrifices necessary for him to achieve this station. (a sentiment which Branagh displays wonderfully when Henry realizes that executing Bardolph for robbing a church is necessary but that he is not better than his old friend.)
Yes, Henry V was a shrewd political operator and if that's what you're looking for then you'll find it in the play, although he wasn't perhaps quite as shrewd as his son, the more frenchified Henry VI, who managed to outlive him.
I suspect that the Church had shrewd political motives at this time as well. For that reason, I wouldn't describe the Archbishop as entirely guileless, his claim that 'the sin is his' comes off as more of an ironic truth than foolishness! The Archbishop would rather admit his sin in words than act it out. It's this powerplay occuring on the periphery which makes Henry look so much more foolish in contrast, while he's plodding at the forefront of battle. He spends his short career as a monarch making war, and dies at age 35.
Does the play really dramatize the long-range ambitions he's entertained?
Isn't richard III a worse piece of tudor smear propaganda than henry V, because in richard III he is portrayed as a villain who's only job is to be vile and evil, but historical evidence shows richard III was a popular king and some say he was not even a hunchback.
i dont think historical accuracy should be a metric to be applied to shakespeare's plays. it's not like he hid the fact he was very liberal with his source material.
also to say "it's his job to be vile and evil" is precisely the point, as richard himself points it out in, well, the opening monologue. it's a bit more nuanced than just a straight up evil character due to bad writing when there were very obvious reasons why he was just evil, both within and external to the play
The Yorkists are fairly definitely marked down as being writers of bad cheques, forgers of false alliances and treaties, and just generally behaving badly.
Richard III's popularity is not something which could have been measured on nation-wide basis the way it could have been today. It was a selective popularity among groups who could not or would not see the 'guillotine' forming at the fringe of his kingdom.
I read him first to get a feel of the play, its themes and the language. I'd be really confused even by the best Shakespeare adaptations if I hadn't read the plays previously.
Actually, once I did watch an adaptation before I read the original, and I didn't like the movie at all. (It was "Chimes at Midnight".)
Something that's always disappointed me: I haven't seen a single good adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, on film or on stage. When I read the play, I think it creates a truly magical atmosphere of a fantastical forest filled with fairies and glowing auras. And yet every film I've seen goes for a more "ugly", or "grimy" approach, as if to emphasize the humor. It disappoints me greatly.