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A Waste of Shame: The Mystery of Shakespeare and His Sonnets (2005)

A mystery in Shakespeare's sonnets is explored.





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Cast overview, first billed only:
William Herbert
Lucie ("the Dark Lady")
Countess of Pembroke
Nicky Henson ...
George Wilkins
John Voce ...
William Kemp
John Hall
Ian Hughes ...
Thomas Thorpe
Clem Tibber ...
Hamnet Shakespeare
Young Blood


A mystery in Shakespeare's sonnets is explored.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

6 May 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A szégyen sivataga: Shakespeare és szonettjeinek rejtélye  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

Not As Dense As It Seems
13 August 2006 | by (Arizona) – See all my reviews

From one of the lesser sonnets (129), this title "waste of shame" taken whole from the first line is used by the scriptwriter to strike a mildly disapproving tone with respect to Shakespeare's apparent sexual ambiguity, instead of making a more general statement in line with the sonnet's entire message. In other words, poor Will -- he just couldn't make up his mind whether he liked boys more than girls or vice versa. Now, the actual message of the sonnet is more like, poor all of us -- we all have this thing in us that makes us subject to losing our reason or good sense from time to time because of our erotic impulses. And if there is any ambiguity, it is a reflection of how different the before and after seem to us once we have acted on those impulses.

In either case, it is a somewhat depressing theme. The film does manage to demonstrate that there was much going in Shakespeare's time and place to be depressed about. Rupert Graves shows again how much he gets into this kind of stuff in a very convincing performance. The costumes and sets seem a bit Merchant-Ivory rather than dismal, but I cannot fault either the overall production or its historical setting. In that regard, it beats the fluffy Shakespeare In Love all to pieces.

The notion of romantic love was not much admired in 1603. It was regarded as we might regard some of the lesser mental illnesses today. So all those long, deep looks between the guys in this film might even have stirred laughs had they been performed in the old Globe.

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