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The Fifteen Minute Hamlet (1995)

 -  Comedy | Short
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 171 users  
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Shakespeare films Hamlet on a single reel then, after an initial screening, edits it down to the bare bones.

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Title: The Fifteen Minute Hamlet (1995)

The Fifteen Minute Hamlet (1995) on IMDb 8/10

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Complete credited cast:
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Ernest Perry Jr. ...
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Bernardo / Horatio / Laertes (as Philip S. Hoffman)
Angie Phillips ...
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...
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The Courier
Tom Flowers ...
The Musician
Michael Goldberg ...
A Producer
Tommy Swerdlow ...
A King
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A tongue-in-cheek take on the film industry as if it existed in Elizabethan times. Director William Shakespeare shoots "Hamlet" in one reel, seemingly in one continuous take. When he screens this silly but accurate 15-minute version to a studio boss, he's told he needs to trim it down to make it more commercial. He begrudgingly does so, with surprising results...from the audience and himself. Written by Kevin Gillease <gillease@hotmail.com>

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User Reviews

Funny and well produced condensed telling of Hamlet
1 March 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In a world where Shakespeare has to work to the demands of a studio (in the shape of the King), we find that his version of Hamlet has been made with the mass market in mind and thus a tale that normally takes almost 4 hours to tell is condensed down to a tight 15 minutes – surely this will satisfy the demands of the King.

It was amount of familiar names and faces in here that drew me to this film; of course Hoffman is the one that grabs the attention in light of his recent drugs overdose, but we also have Xander Berkely, Austin Pendleton and a few others where even if you don't know the names you'll recognize the faces. The delivery of Hamlet in 15 minutes is quite the feat and to enjoy this film it really does help that you know the story and characters already because, although it can just about be followed through the very basic snippets and fast pace, it is very much easier when you are already know. Indeed to appreciate the film as a whole it is good to know Hamlet because it is funny what they have done with certain bits and how they condense it down.

The production seems to be in several long tracking shots; there are some parts where there is a clear edit but it is filmed to try to hide it, but even still doing it in long flowing shots is impressive and quite fun. The joke is at the expense of the movie studios but even without this frame it still works as it is fun to see the story fly by so quickly but yet still be done with all the earnestness of the play (aside from some comic moments – Ophelia and her fate being the funniest). The ending repeats the joke but in a funnier way and generally it is an enjoyable little short and the only problem I had was that the film was very dark and not particularly well shot – although this may just have been the age of the film given that it is nearly 20 years old.


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