Hamlet
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FAQ for
Hamlet (1948) More at IMDbPro »

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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Hamlet can be found here.

Although this film, as does Hamlet (1990), implies strong overtones of incest between Hamlet and Gertrude (Gertrude marries her former brother-in-law Claudius, which Hamlet considered incest), some film versions don't, e.g., Hamlet (1996). Also, a subtle motif of incestuous desire can be found in the relationship between Laertes and Ophelia, as Laertes sometimes speaks to his sister in suggestively sexual terms and, at her funeral, leaps into her grave to hold her in his arms.

The biggest cut was the complete omission of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the two former schoolmates of Hamlet who are asked by the King to spy on him after Hamlet begins acting as if mad. Their omission alone reduces the length of the play by about twenty to twenty-five minutes, although some of Guildenstern's lines are given to Polonius. Also left out of the film were the Second Gravedigger, Fortinbras, Reynaldo, the British ambassador who arrives with Fortinbras, the courtiers Voltimand and Cornelius, and Fortinbras's Captain. All of these characters have much smaller roles than Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The role of the Player King has also been greatly reduced. Gone is his recitation of the death of Priam. and all of the spoken lines in the play-within-a-play given at the castle are completely omitted. The Player Queen and Lucianus have no lines in the Olivier "Hamlet", while in Shakespeare's full-length version, they do.

Some, but not much, of the "O that this too,too solid flesh would melt" speech is cut. Nearly all of the "O what a rogue and pleasant slave am I" speech is cut; the only two lines retained from it are "The play's the thing / Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King". The entire "How all occasions do inform against me" speech, which comes just before the intermission in Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet" (1996), is gone from the Olivier version. And some of the '' 'Tis now the very witching time of night" speech is cut. The only long speech of Hamlet's that is retained complete in the film is (what else?) the "To be or not to be" soliloquy, perhaps the most famous speech that Shakespeare ever wrote.

The lines in which the Ghost refers to the punishments he has to suffer in Purgatory have been omitted. The Ghost is in Purgatory because he died without receiving the Last Rites.

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