During World War I, in an unnamed country, a soldier named Tamino is sent by the Queen of the Night to rescue her daughter Pamina from the clutches of the supposedly evil Sarastro. But all is not as it seems.
After the overthrowing of Duke Senior by his tyrannical brother, Senior's daughter Rosalind disguises herself as a man and sets out to find her banished father while also counseling her clumsy suitor Orlando in the art of wooing.
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.
Rosalind, the daughter of Duke Senior (the banished Duke), is raised at the court of Duke Frederick (who is younger brother to Duke Senior and took over his Dukedom), with her cousin Celia (daughter to Duke Frederick). She falls in love with a young man named Orlando, but before she can even think twice about it, she is banished by Duke Frederick, who threatens death if she comes near the court again. Celia, being Rosalind's best friend, goes with Rosalind (who is disguised as a boy, Ganymede) and Touchstone, the court's fool, to the forest of Arden. Upon their arrival in the forest, they happen upon Orlando and his manservant, who are fleeing the wrath of Orlando's eldest brother. What follows is an elaborate scheme devised by the cross-dressing Rosalind to find out the verity of Orlando's supposed passion for her, and to further capture his heart, through the witty and mischievous façade of Ganymede.Written by
This movie has received a Golden Globe nomination and a Screen Actors Guild nomination in the "Made-for-TV" category, even though it was not actually made for television. It was released to theaters abroad before premiering on HBO in the U.S. (The end credits feature a "Dolby Stereo in Selected Theaters" credit.) See more »
I prithee, pretty youth, let me be better acquainted with thee.
They say you are a melancholy fellow.
I am so; I do love it better than laughing.
Those that are in extremity of either are abominable fellows and betray themselves to every modern censure worse than drunkards.
Why, 'tis good to be sad and say nothing.
Why then, 'tis good to be a post.
I have neither the scholar's melancholy, which is emulation, nor the musician's, which is fantastical, nor the courtier's, which is proud, nor the ...
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The character "Sir Oliver Martext" (he is the "vicar" who is supposed to marry Audrey and Touchstone) appears in this film, but is not listed as Oliver Martext in the credits. The reason for this is that in this film, the vicar is actually the shepherd Corin (who is listed in the credits) in disguise. See more »
The version shown on cable television has been formatted to the aspect ratio commonly used in HDTV production (that is, anywhere from 1.78:1 to 1.85:1), while the version released to movie theatres was released in the typical CinemaScope/Panavision aspect ratio (2.39:1). It is the theatrical version which has been issued on DVD. Since the film was made using the Super 35 format, it was possible to make versions of the film in different aspect ratios. See more »
As You Like It is my favorite Shakespearean comedy, and my high expectations of the new Branagh version were not put to shame. Set in a lush, beautiful forest in an imaginary old Japan, populated by people of all races, this version is an innovative and modern one rather than a conventional and classical one - and it works.
The female main characters, Rosalind, Celia, Phebe and Audrey, are all immensely good, effortlessly throwing around both unbridled enthusiasm and unwavering character acting. In fact, Celia is near to outshining Rosalind; only her obviously bleached hair detracts from her charm.
The male characters are, sadly, far less distinctive, with the exception of Alfred Molina's Touchstone, who's delightfully silly - almost too much so. Kevin Kline's Jacques is not bad either, but he doesn't really steal the limelight to any great extent, the way he perhaps should. In a production as colorful as this one, Jacques greyness gets a bit lost.
(Edit: I will say that this version gains from repeated viewings. It is a great modern adaptation of Shakespeare's perhaps most joyous comedy.)
I did feel that a lot of the original text was missing, and this, as is so often the case with Shakespeare movies, is this production's worst shortcoming. Not enough of the delightful Rosalind rhymes which almost define the play ("Winter garments must be lined / So must slender Rosalind") are included, which is a grave, grave error in disposition. If this play was often made into movies, that judgment might be justified, but since the play is adapted so rarely, it cannot be.
The overall filming and cinematography are excellent, however, with plentiful gentle camera movement and many close-ups, focusing admirably on the strong emotions exchanged between the characters, and the language is fluid as well as florid, spoken in a very modern, sometimes even casual, tone, as we have come to expect from Branagh's very accessible Shakespeare films.
We are many who wonder why this film has not received a wide cinematic release. It has been shown only on a few film festivals, and this January it will be out on DVD, at least in Italy. Is it going straight to DVD without a run in international theaters? Why?? Is it really seen to be so obscure and uncommercial that no distribution company will commit to it? If so, distributors should be ashamed.
My rating: 9 out of 10.
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