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
The opening model shot of London was huge - 50 x 70 feet in size and made of plaster. It took 4 months to construct. 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 advertising poster for the film's first U.S. run (in 1946) billed it as "A Two City Film" when it should have read "A Two Cities Film", as it does in the film's actual opening credits. See more »
I saw a modern remake of this film, 1989, recently with Kenneth Branagh. The battle showed sweat and blood, a non-theatrical production in comparison to this 1944, very theatrical, Olivier production. Some reviewers denounce the heavy-handed acting of 1944, but I find it charming.
Olivier has an economical charisma. His acting has few flourishes, but his voice says everything. Olivier in period costume is mesmerizing. As Shakespeare's bad-boy prince turned earnest King, Olivier takes charge and demands the return of English lands from the rather effeminate French nobility. Outnumbered 10 to one, his merry band of Englishmen dispatches the Dolphin at Agincourt. Then he courts the French speaking princess Katherine with broken French and economy.
The recreation of old London and the Globe Theatre was delightful. The audience and players went on in heavy rains without complaint. The mention of Falstaff's name is enough to get applause, though the buffoon has only a short death scene.
I do believe the play has been abridged. Many of the longer speeches seem shortened. Still, this is accessible Shakespeare. How can you go wrong? Never!
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