The RSC puts a modern spin on Shakespeare's Hamlet in this filmed-for-television version of their stage production. The Prince of Denmark seeks vengeance after his father is murdered and his mother marries the murderer.
Out of work actor Joe volunteers to help try and save his sister's local church for the community by putting on a Christmas production of Hamlet, somewhat against the advice of his agent ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The title of Hamlet's play-within-a-play is "The Murder of Gonzago", which may or may not have been extrapolated from an Italian prose work. However, when asked its title by Claudius, Hamlet responds by bestowing on it a new moniker, which reflects its purpose (to "catch the conscience of the King") - he calls it "The Mousetrap". 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 »
How dost my good lord Hamlet?
[Turns a corner and is shocked by a mask-wearing Hamlet]
Well. God a' mercy.
[Astonished at Hamlet's peculiar behavior]
Do you know me my lord?
Excellent well. You are a fishmonger.
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I must say that, looking at Hamlet from the perspective of a student, Brannagh's version of Hamlet is by far the best. His dedication to stay true to the original text should be applauded. It helps the play come to life on screen, and makes it easier for people holding the text while watching, as we did while studying it, to follow and analyze the text.
One of the things I have heard criticized many times is the casting of major Hollywood names in the play. I find that this helps viewers recognize the characters easier, as opposed to having actors that all look and sound the same that aid in the confusion normally associated with Shakespeare.
Also, his flashbacks help to clear up many ambiguities in the text. Such as how far the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia really went and why Fortinbras just happened to be at the castle at the end. All in all, not only does this version contain some brilliant performances by actors both familiar and not familiar with Shakespeare. It is presented in a way that one does not have to be an English Literature Ph.D to understand and enjoy it.
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