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Hamlet Goes Business (1987)

Hamlet liikemaailmassa (original title)
A bizarre black-and-white film noir reworking of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. After the death of his father, young Hamlet inherits a seat on the board of a company controlled by his uncle that ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pirkka-Pekka Petelius ...
Esko Salminen ...
Klaus
...
Elina Salo ...
Esko Nikkari ...
Kari Väänänen ...
Puntti Valtonen ...
Simo (as Hannu Valtonen)
Mari Rantasila ...
Helena
Turo Pajala ...
Aake Kalliala ...
Pentti Auer ...
Isä / Haamu
...
Vartija
Vesa Mäkelä ...
Lääkäri
Maija Leino
Pertti Sveholm
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Storyline

A bizarre black-and-white film noir reworking of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. After the death of his father, young Hamlet inherits a seat on the board of a company controlled by his uncle that decides to move into the rubber duck market. But Hamlet is suspicious of the circumstances surrounding his father's death... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

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Comedy | Drama | Romance

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Release Date:

21 August 1987 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Amleto nel mondo degli affari  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Polonius: How are you, Hamlet?
Hamlet: Alright, thank God.
Polonius: Do you know me?
Hamlet: Sure, You are the butcher.
Polonius: No, I'm not.
Hamlet: I wish you were.
Polonius: Why?
Hamlet: It would make you more respectable. Only one man in 10,000 is respectable and even he's nothing much to boast about.
Polonius: That's true.
Hamlet: For if the sun breeds maggots in a dead bitch it's worth the carrion to kiss it. You got a daughter?
[...]
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Connections

Featured in Matka suomalaiseen elokuvaan: Naurua pimeässä (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Things Will Turn Out Right (Kunhan palaan takaisin)
Written by The Renegades
Finnish lyrics Kari Tuomisaari
Performed by Topi Sorsakoski
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User Reviews

 
A different and intriguing take on Shakespeare's tragedy.
24 September 2006 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

It's not that easy to make a Shakespeare adaptation set in our time. There have been successful attempts, such as Baz Luhrmann's Romeo & Juliet, but most modern-day versions of the bard's plays are doomed to oblivion. That's not the case of Hamlet Goes Business, Aki Kaurismäki's film noir take on the classic.

Actually, it's more of a black comedy, similarly to Calamari Union (coincidentally, or maybe not, both films were shot in black and white), Kaurismäki's satire on Finnish lowlife. This time, the target is the big industry, within which Hamlet (Pirkka-Pekka Petelius, who also played one of the Franks in Calamari Union) is raised a spoiled brat, spending his days doing mostly nothing, bar flirt with Ofelia (Kati Outinen), whose father (Esko Nikkari) is an important business associate of Hamlet's dad. Then suddenly the situation changes, as the old man is found dead and his brother, Klaus (Esko Salminen) takes over everything, including the marital duties with Hamlet's mother (Elina Salo). Our grief-struck hero is subsequently forced into action after discovering Klaus isn't that innocent: he poisoned his own brother. Hence the inevitable questions: what should Hamlet do? Leave the murderer alone or avenge his father's assassination? In short, to be or not to be?

Ironically, we never hear the protagonist say those words, or the rest of the soliloquy, for that matter. Kaurismäki cut the entire speech because according to him it was ridiculous, useless and distracting, a waste of time: Hamlet would be too busy to start reflecting on life's meaning.

Apart from that (and a few tweaks at the end), Hamlet Goes Business follows Shakespeare's text very closely, albeit with the satirical tone. In fact, the movie's sole weakness is the fact that it gets a little too overblown and surreal come the conclusion, with set-pieces that are funny, yes, but slightly inappropriate in this kind of film.

That said, the film is worth a viewing, if you're open-minded enough. If not, stick with Laurence Olivier or Kenneth Branagh: at least you'll get to hear the famous soliloquy.


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