The highly successful 1964 Richard Burton Broadway production of "Hamlet", deliberately staged in the style of a "dress rehearsal", but performed in front of a live audience.

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Sir John Gielgud directed this "Electronovision" taping of the play "Hamlet" performed at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater on Broadway in 1964 ("Electronovision" was a short-lived gimmick which was basically closed-circuit TV). The most unusual thing about this film is that the actors are in street clothes instead of period costumes, and the sets are minimal, to say the least. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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23 September 1964 (USA)  »

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Richard Burton's Hamlet  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Director John Gielgud had, of course, played Hamlet years before on stage. Cast opposite him, as Ophelia, was Jessica Tandy, whose husband, Hume Cronyn plays Ophelia's father Polonius in this film. See more »

Connections

Version of The Rest Is Silence (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

IT WAS REALLY A DRESS REHEARSAL!
30 August 2002 | by (San Antonio, Texas, USA) – See all my reviews

Whereas it is true that this version of "Hamlet" with Richard Burton in the title role was a hit on Broadway, that's just part of the story behind the video release.

Burton had become an immensely popular actor after his scandalous marriage to Elizabeth Taylor during the rigors of filming "Cleopatra," in which he played the love-crazed Mark Anthony. After that film's long-delayed release (late 1963), the pair became "Hollywood royalty" with a world-wide following.

Developers/producers of Electronovision capitalized on their phenomenal popularity by arranging the taping of a dress rehearsal. It was released theatrically during the course of the play's Broadway run.

Electronovision was another version of closed-circuit TV; hence, the master videotape is in black-and-white.

A later try with Electronovision was the 1965 closed-circuit, theatrical release of "Harlow," which starred Carol Lynley as 1930s movie actress Jean Harlow. It barely preceded the 1965 film of the same name (Carroll Baker in title role). Although that film was forced to rush through production, it didn't finish in time to be the "first."

Critics of that period, who were not all impressed with this "new medium," really lashed out at this one, which they claimed went "against all ethics."

To my recall, that controversy ended Electronovision.






















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