Richard Chamberlain was caught between a rock and a hard place trying to appease the television audience of the day with his Hamlet. If he made it too cerebral it would turn off millions of viewers, if it was too lightweight he would not be taken seriously. In the end a compromise was made and the director cut 2000 lines of dialog from the production in order to make it more digestible to those in America who had never heard of Hamlet and those in Britain who only knew Hamlet "as some grumpy guy from the past". See more »
I'm giving this production a 5, because I really don't remember if it was awful or awesome.
i was in 8th grade. Mrs McCracken (actually a fairly young woman at the time; sounds like an old hag) had us reading Hamlet. Perhaps it was a coincidence it aired during the time we were reading the play; perhaps she knew in advance and chose to teach it.
She did not order us to see it, but encouraged us to try; I was happy I was able to see it. It made the printed page come alive, and stands as a moment of clarity for me. I've never lost my taste foe Shakespeare imparted by viewing this production.
That said, it was a two-hour production (including commercial breaks) of a three-to-four- hour play. It HAD to have jettisoned major chunks of story to accommodate that time slot.
And for me, a 14-year-old male, Richard Chamberlain was just the former Dr Kildaire. I didn't know gay from Gevalia.
I hope it will one day be available for viewing.
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