Laurence Olivier

Laurence Olivier – Hamlet (1948)

Olivier’s Hamlet is the Shakespeare film that has received the most prestigious accolades, winning the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actor. However, it was poorly received by Shakespearean purists, who felt that Olivier had made too many alterations and excisions to the four-hour play by cutting nearly two hours worth of content. Read More »

Laurence Olivier – Richard III [+Commentary] (1955)

Plot: Richard III is a 1955 British film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s historical play of the same name, also incorporating elements from his Henry VI, Part 3. It was directed and produced by Sir Laurence Olivier, who also played the lead role. The cast includes many noted Shakespearean actors, including a quartet of acting knights. The film depicts Richard plotting and conspiring to grasp the throne from his brother King Edward IV, played by Sir Cedric Hardwicke. In the process, many are killed and betrayed, with Richard’s evil leading to his own downfall. The prologue of the film states that history without its legends would be “a dry matter indeed”, implicitly admitting to the artistic licence that Shakespeare applied to the events of the time. Read More »

Laurence Olivier – The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fifth with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France AKA Henry V (1944)

Synopsis:
Laurence Olivier’s adaptation of Henry V is one of the finest Shakespeare films ever made, full of rousing action, beautiful colors and passionate performances. Henry V is the story of the newly crowned king of England who fights the French for possession of Normandy. Olivier’s direction is inventive, beginning the film as if it were a performance at the Globe Theatre, and having it slowly expand so the final battle scenes take place in realistic settings. Released in 1944 during the height of World War II, Henry V didn’t receive an American release until 1946, upon which Olivier won a special Academy Award for “his outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director in bringing Henry V to the screen.”
— Stephen Erlewine Read More »