William Shakespeare's tale of tragedy of murder and revenge in the royal halls of medieval Denmark. Claudius, brother to the King, conniving with the Queen, poisons the monarch and seizes the throne, taking the widowed Gertrude for his bride. Hamlet, son of the murdered King, mournful of his father's death and mother's hasty marriage, is confronted by the ghost of the late King who reveals the manner of his murder. Seeking revenge, Hamlet recreates the monstrous deed in a play with the help of some traveling actors to torment the conscience of the evil Claudius. In a visit with his mother, Hamlet expresses his anger and disappointment concerning her swiftly untimed marriage. Thinking a concealed spy in his mother's chamber to be the lurking Claudius, he mistakenly kills the meddling counselor, Polonius, father of Ophelia and Laertes. Claudius, on the pretext that Hamlet will be endangered by his subjects for the murder of Polonius, sends the prince to England.Written by
When the movie was released, Sir Laurence Olivier said it had been filmed in black and white for artistic reasons. The true reason, as he later admitted, was that "I was in the middle of a furious row with Technicolor". See more »
A clock is heard chiming the half-hour in Westminster chimes. If chiming clocks were invented at the time of the action they wouldn't sound the Westminster chimes which date only - as the name suggests - from the installation of the Big Ben clock in 1859. See more »
So oft it chances in particular men / That through some vicious mole of nature in them, / By the o'ergrowth of some complexion / Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason, / Or by some habit grown too much; that these men - / Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect, / Their virtues else - be they as pure as grace, / Shall in the general censure take corruption / From that particular fault... This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind.
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Opening credits prologue: SCENE - ELSINORE See more »
I had expected something extraordinary from an actor I had thought was one of the greatest Shakespearean performers, but I just could not see it. I did not think it was bad but I remained unmoved. Also, there were substantial cuts to the text.
Maybe sensibilities change. Maybe I am too jaded by modern lavish production values to appreciate this primitive-looking one. The pace seemed jerky, some of the acting mannered, including Olivier's, and the mannerisms seemed dated and not all of a consistent style. The miracle I hope for is that the play in its fullness could be intelligibly pitched to a modern sensibility - or else that the production style could elucidate an earlier sensibility. In this version, the flowery Renaissance sensibility that pervades the lovely poignant scene of the death of Ophelia seems replaced by half-hearted Freudianism and a dated concept of medieval style where austerity and floridness jarringly conflict.
I would be grateful if one production could make clear to me why Hamlet feigns madness. I guess I am still looking for the definitive Hamlet.
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