In the inspired Olivier concept, Shakespeare's play begins as a performance in the Globe Theatre, shifting in broad cinematic terms to an epic narrative of Henry V, who had developed from a... See full summary »
Disgusted with the policies of King Charles I, Oliver Cromwell plans to take his family to the New World. But on the eve of their departure, Cromwell is drawn into the tangled web of ... See full summary »
In the Fifteenth Century, France is a defeated and ruined nation after the One Hundred Years War against England. The fourteen years old farm girl Joan of Arc claims to hear voices from ... See full summary »
Francis L. Sullivan
In the inspired Olivier concept, Shakespeare's play begins as a performance in the Globe Theatre, shifting in broad cinematic terms to an epic narrative of Henry V, who had developed from a dissolute youth to a purposeful monarch. Proving his ability as a soldier and skillful leader, he unites the dissident factions in the English army and goes on to crush the French, against enormous odds, at Agincourt. Arranging a treaty with the French court, he woos Princess Katharine to whom he is formally betrothed as part of the peace agreement. Written by
Laurence Olivier's then wife, Vivian Leigh, very much wanted to play Katherine, but David O. Selznick would not let her out of her contract with Selznick International Pictures, feeling that the role was much too small for an actress of her cache. Leigh never forgave Selznick, and never worked for him again. See more »
O! for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention; a kingdom for a stage, princes to act and monarchs to behold the swelling scene. Then should the war-like Harry, like himself, assume the port of Mars; and at his heels, leashed in like hounds, would famine, word, and fire crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all, the flat unraised spirits that hath dared on this unworthy scaffold to bring forth so great an object: can this cockpit hold the vasty ...
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The main title appears as a playbill floating over the Globe Theatre. Also, there are no opening credits except for the name of the production company and the film's title, which is commonplace today, but was very rare in 1944. See more »
What an intelligent film!!! I loved its stage-y quality--The good-humored recreation of a performance in Shakespeare's time with the audience so fully engaged, laughing at jokes we don't understand (e.g., the machinations of churchmen). I loved the details and sense of history--the sets inspired by medieval illuminations and the score by William Walton. The tight script and directing bring out the complexity of the play. Unlike other reviewers, I'd rate it higher than Branagh's more visceral, contemporary version though I can see why some might find this one pallid. It doesn't have a modern feel, and this style of acting Shakespeare feels dated to me--I've grown accustomed to naturalism. Overall, I appreciate that it is many-layered and distinctively English. I hope it accomplished its worthy goal of raising morale during the WWII.
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