The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.
Hamlet, son of the king of Denmark, is summoned home for his father's funeral and his mother's wedding to his uncle. In a supernatural episode, he discovers that his uncle, whom he hates anyway, murdered his father. In an incredibly convoluted plot--the most complicated and most interesting in all literature--he manages to (impossible to put this in exact order) feign (or perhaps not to feign) madness, murder the "prime minister," love and then unlove an innocent whom he drives to madness, plot and then unplot against the uncle, direct a play within a play, successfully conspire against the lives of two well-meaning friends, and finally take his revenge on the uncle, but only at the cost of almost every life on stage, including his own and his mother's. Written by
John Brosseau <email@example.com>
When filming the flashback scene during Hamlet's "Yorick" speech, shown in vision only with no sound, Kenneth Branagh's only instruction to Ken Dodd was "Okay, make us laugh," which he did. See more »
When Laertes is shouting at Claudius on his return it is shot from two angles. From Claudius' view Laertes' sword is pressing against his neck and he pushes on it as he speaks, but from Laertes' view his sword is not touching and he waves it slightly as he speaks. See more »
My lord I will take my leave of you.
You cannot sir, take from me anything I would more willingly part withal. Except my life. Except my life
Except my life.
Fare you well, my lord.
[to himself, quite sane]
These tedious old fools.
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I enjoyed this film immensely when it came out, going to it five times while it was still in theatres. A much better way to spend an evening than watching the retread scifi thriller material out at the time.
I have to admit though that after seeing it again a few times on video it doesn't have the same attraction for me that it originally did. As film, it's solid. The settings are wonderful, and I admire the desire to produce the entire play unedited.
I don't enjoy the acting as much as I first did. In the case of Branagh, that may be merely a matter of personal taste. I would prefer a less garrulous Hamlet. Obviously, since all actors of Hamlet are working from the same script, unless edited, this is dependent entirely on the manner in which they portray the character. I find Branagh's performance a bit cloying, and far too over the top in some cases.
In addition, some of the cameos are distracting. Heston and Crystal I enjoy, but Williams, and particularly Lemmon, are annoying. The others, Attenborough et al, are fine.
While I can't give Hamlet a whole-hearted recommendation, I have to say that it far surpasses the trite commercialism of all the new "greatest films of all time" which have come out over the last few years. That's a phrase being used far too often now, revealing a lack of familiarity with the great films of the past. In that sense, I admire Mr. Branagh's desire to bring great drama to the screen, and hope that he meets with continued success in the future.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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