Discovering Hamlet (1990) - News Poster

(1990 TV Movie)


[DVD Review] Discovering Hamlet

In Discovering Hamlet, viewers get a look behind the scenes at the Renaissance Theatre Company's 1988 production of Hamlet. Their staging of Hamlet was a truly remarkable moment in modern theater history. Derek Jacobi was considered to be the premiere Hamlet of his generation, and he is directing a young Kenneth Branagh in the lead role. Together, Jacobi and Branagh struggle to find their unique interpretation of the work, and the company moves quickly through blocking, rehearsals, and technical run-throughs. Did I mention the film is narrated by Patrick Stewart? Oh yes, Jean-Luc Picard himself walks us through the ins and outs of this incredible production.

There is a lot for theater enthusiasts to love about Discovering Hamlet. First, they get the chance to see the creative process of two acclaimed Shakespearean actors. Now, Branagh is an Oscar-nominated thespian and director, but back then, he was just an up-and-coming young
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DVD Review - Discovering Hamlet

It's always quite interesting to see television meet Shakespeare. Last year, Acorn Media gave us a brilliant meeting of the two in the Blu-ray release of the Canadian series Slings & Arrows, an utterly brilliant dark comedy that followed a dysfunctional theater troupe as it attempted to put on adaptations of Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear. Now, this year, Acorn Media's documentary imprint Athena will be putting out more Shakespeare, this time in the form of a documentary titled Discovering Hamlet.

Shakespeare isn't the only connection this release has to previous Acorn titles. The director of the play it focuses on is Derek Jacobi, who played the titular character in Acorn's November release Cadfael. Also recognizable is a pre-Harry Potter Kenneth Branagh, who stars in the production as eponymous prince of Denmark.

The documentary was filmed in 1988, and if it wasn't for the recognizable faces, you wouldn't be able to tell.
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DVD Playhouse: December 2010

DVD Playhouse December 2010


Allen Gardner

America Lost And Found: The Bbs Story (Criterion) Perhaps the best DVD box set released this year, this ultimate cinefile stocking stuffer offered up by Criterion, the Rolls-Royce of home video labels, features seven seminal works from the late ‘60s-early ‘70s that were brought to life by cutting edge producers Bert Schneider, Steve Blauner and director/producer Bob Rafelson, the principals of Bbs Productions. In chronological order: Head (1968) star the Monkees, the manufactured (by Rafelson, et al), American answer to the Beatles who, like it or not, did make an impact on popular culture, particularly in this utterly surreal piece of cinematic anarchy (co-written by Jack Nicholson, who has a cameo), which was largely dismissed upon its initial release, but is now regarded as a counterculture classic. Easy Rider (1969) is arguably regarded as the seminal ‘60s picture, about two hippie drug dealers (director Dennis Hopper
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