1403: Henry IV finds himself facing uprisings from the Welsh chieftain Owen Glendower and impetuous young Harry "Hotspur" Percy, son of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, angry with the ...
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1403: Henry IV finds himself facing uprisings from the Welsh chieftain Owen Glendower and impetuous young Harry "Hotspur" Percy, son of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, angry with the king for not paying Glendower ransom for his brother-in-law Mortimer. Another trial for Henry is the fact that his son, Prince Hal, keeps company with the older, reprobate drunkard Sir John Falstaff. Though the prince is his friend he is not above playing cruel jests on Falstaff, robbing him in disguise and returning his money after Falstaff has given an exaggerated account of his bravery in the hold-up. However, Hal joins his father at the wintry battle of Shrewsbury to put down Hotspur's revolt, where Hal kills Hotspur in single combat - Falstaff later claiming credit for the deed. Hotspur is routed but Henry and Hal still have to face the uprisings of Glendower and Nortumberland, now joined by the archbishop of York.Written by
When the sheriff comes to the tavern looking for those responsible for the Gadshill robbery, everybody flees the room but Prince Hal and Doll Tearsheet, so as to give the sheriff the impression he is interrupting an intimate moment and make it easier to send him away. In the actual play, the stage direction is simply for everyone but Hal and Peto to leave the room, but the choice of having Hal go at it with a woman at this point was also made by Orson Welles in his film based on the plays, Chimes at Midnight (1965). In the corresponding scene in Gus van Sant's My Own Private Idaho (1991), partly inspired by the plays, the Hal character is in bed with River Phoenix's character. See more »
Good adaptation, but not the best of the Shakespeare histories
HENRY IV PART 1 is the second of the Shakespeare histories released under the BBC's HOLLOW CROWN banner, following on from the excellent RICHARD II. This one offers similar quality, in terms of strong production values and decent performances, except that they're slightly wasted on what turns out to be one of the Bard's weaker plays.
The problem with HENRY IV PART 1 is that I just didn't care too much about any of the central characters. Jeremy Irons is Henry IV, but he has little screen time and he's given little to do other than look weary and loaded with angst. Tom Hiddleston steals the limelight as the youthful Prince Hal, in a performance brimming with energy and vitality, and there's a wide-ranging cast of familiar faces such as Julie Waters in the comedy role.
Sadly, my feelings about the production didn't change as it went on, and much of the shenanigans left me feeling cold. One such character is Falstaff, who I felt was a rotund drunk and nothing more than that. I know there are extra layers of character and meaning to be found but the character was so repellent that I just didn't care.
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