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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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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Crude, black-and-white filming of a famous Broadway production: it feels like a shadow from the past See more (15 total) »


  (in credits order)

Directed by
Bill Colleran 
John Gielgud 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
William Shakespeare  play

Produced by
Alexander H. Cohen .... producer: stage production
Alfred W. Crown .... producer
John Heyman .... producer
William Sargent Jr. .... executive producer (as Bill Sargent)
William Sargent Jr. .... producer (as Bill Sargent)
Cinematography by
Bill Colleran 
Film Editing by
Bruce B. Pierce 
Production Design by
Ben Edwards 
Costume Design by
Jane Greenwood 
Sound Department
James Fritch .... sound editor
Camera and Electrical Department
Nobby Cross .... gaffer
Jean Rosenthal .... lighting designer (stage production)
Other crew
Alexander H. Cohen .... presenter
John Gielgud .... stage director

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Richard Burton's Hamlet" - USA (DVD title)
See more »
191 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Eileen Herlie also played Gertrude in Laurence Olivier's Oscar-winning 1948 Hamlet (1948). Whereas she was 11 years younger than her "son" when Hamlet was played by Olivier, she was seven years older than Richard Burton.See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of Hamlet: Prince of Denmark (1989)See more »


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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
Crude, black-and-white filming of a famous Broadway production: it feels like a shadow from the past, 9 December 2006
Author: J. Spurlin from United States

I didn't know a record of this famous production existed until I found it on DVD at the library. What a find! John Gielgud directed Richard Burton in "Hamlet," an acclaimed production in modern dress that was eventually recorded with a process called Electronovision and released in movie theaters. What's fascinating is that this is a record of an actual Broadway performance before an audience; the actors make no concession to the cameras and change nothing. The black-and-white process is crude, far inferior to that of recent stage shows presented on PBS. Yet I was amazed how compelling the show was anyway. Maybe the crudeness helped. It felt like a shadow retrieved from the past: I thought of the filmed dream from "Quatermass and the Pit."

Richard Burton makes a fine Hamlet, more virile and physical than most; his intellectual side is de-emphasized but far from lost; and he's funny. The rest of the cast is uniformly good, but Hume Cronyn stands out as Polonius. He's so good, so funny, so able to bring out both the wisdom and the foolishness of the character that until he's dispatched, the play feels like the "Hamlet and Polonius Show."

Happily a year ago, I found at a thrift store a book by Richard L. Sterne (one of the minor players in this production) called "John Gielgud Directs Richard Burton in Hamlet." It includes transcripts of Gielgud directing the cast, the prompt script Gielgud created, and Sterne's interviews with Burton and Gielgud. I've only looked into it, but I can highly recommend it based on what I've read. Anyone who finds this DVD may want to seek out the book as well.

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