Bryony Dixon, Jane Giles, Becci Jones – Play On! Shakespeare in Silent Film (2016)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

From King John in 1899, film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays proved popular with early filmmakers and audiences. By the end of the silent era, around 300 films had been produced. This feature-length celebration draws together a delightful selection of thrilling, dramatic, iconic and humorous scenes from two dozen different titles, many of which have been unseen for decades.

See Hamlet addressing Yorick’s skull, King Lear battling a raging storm at Stonehenge, The Merchant of Venice in vibrant stencil colour, the fairy magic of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and what was probably John Gielgud’s first appearance on film, in the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. These treasures from the BFI National Archive have been newly digitised and are brought to life by the composers and musicians of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Continue reading

Grigori Kozintsev – Korol Lir AKA King Lear (1969)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

From IMDB user comments:

Black and white cinematography of Gritsius, the music of Shostakovich and the enigmatic face of Jarvet, makes all other versions of King Lear smaller in stature. Lord Olivier himself acknowledged the stark brilliance of this film. Oleg Dal’s fool lends a fascinating twist to the character. The “Christian Marxism” of Kozintsev can knock-out any serious student of cinema and Shakespeare.

Kozintsev is one of least sung masters of Russian cinema. His cinema is very close to that of Tarkovsky and Sergei Paradjanov. Kozintsev’s Lear is not a Lear that mourns his past and his daughters–his Lear is close to the soil, the plants, and all elements of nature. That’s what makes Kozintsev’s Shakespearean works outstanding. Continue reading

Justin Kurzel – Macbeth (2015)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Macbeth is the story of a fearless warrior and inspiring leader brought low by ambition and desire. A thrilling interpretation of the dramatic realities of the times and a reimagining of what wartime must have been like for one of Shakespeare’s most famous and compelling characters, a story of all-consuming passion and ambition set in war torn 11th Century Scotland. Continue reading

Franco Zeffirelli – Romeo and Juliet (1968)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Emulating Renato Castellani, who had previously in 1960 filmed Romeo and Juliet on location in an Italian hill city, Franco Zeffirelli, veteran stage and opera director, combined the neo-realism of Italian cinema with the unabashed sentimentality of a Puccini opera in making this enormously popular adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedies of young lovers. Moreover he filtered the action through the lens of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story to make the experience totally palatable to the rebellious youth of the late Sixties. What he sacrificed in Shakespeare’s language (and perhaps half or more of the text disappeared), he attempted to compensate for with a colorful and visually appealing panorama of life in a northern Italian city. Zeffirelli had previously accomplished much the same results with his filmed 1966 Taming of the Shrew (598) starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Moreover he also brought to the venture considerable experience as a director of staged Shakespeare for the RSC and other companies. Hundreds of aspirants were auditioned before lucky, then 14-year-old, Olivia Hussey snapped up the prized role as Juliet
Description from Shakespeare on Screen : an International Filmography and Videography by Kenneth S. Rothwell and Annabelle Henkin Melzer. Continue reading

Thomas Ostermeier – Richard III (2015)

Richard III
by William Shakespeare
Direction: Thomas Ostermeier
Translation and version by Marius von Mayenburg

Richard is hideous. Born prematurely, he is a deformed, hobbling, hunchbacked cripple who, on the battlefields of the Wars of the Roses – which flared up after the death of Henry V – served his family and above all his brother, Edward, well. Now Edward is king, thanks to a number of murders carried out on his crippled brother’s own initiative. But the end of war brings Richard no peace. His hatred for the rest of the world, to which he will never belong, lies too deep. And so he does what he does best and kills some more, clearing away every obstacle that lies in his path to becoming king. If fate prevents him from being part of a society of those blessed by good fortune, he will at least lord over them. He plays off his rivals against each other with political cunning, unscrupulously exploits the ambitions of others for his own ends and strides spotless through an immense bloodbath until there is no one left above him and the crown is his. Continue reading

Orson Welles – The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (1952)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Want to be daring? Try watching Othello without the sound. The assembly of magnificent compositions that Welles has put together for his Othello is nothing short of astounding. Welles finds angles where they never existed before and extracts from the text, so elegant in word, a visual power unmatched by other Shakespearean movies. The heritage from Citizen Kane to Touch of Evil is evident in this stylistic tour-de-force.

Welles is an imposing Othello. Painted with shadows and light, Welles moves regally through the castle sets and strides powerfully along the beach or atop the ramparts. As Iago, Michael Mac Liammoir, the Irish stage actor, is quite creepy. His vast stage experience perhaps affects his performance in front of the camera too much, but the result is highly effective under Welles’ guiding camera and brilliant editing. Continue reading

William Shakespeare – The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare – 38 plays (2003)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare: 38 Fully-Dramatized Plays by William Shakespeare (Author), Eileen Atkins (Narrator), Joseph Fiennes (Narrator), Sir John Gielgud (Narrator), Emily Woof (Narrator)

The Complete Shakespeare for the 21st Century . This release is of major importance: for the first time all of Shakespeare’s plays are available on CD in a single set, produced by a single creative team with an extraordinary cast, with the utmost attention to detail to guarantee a listening experience that’s accessible and enjoyable.

Arkangel Productions brings together the best of academic and entertainment industry expertise. Tom Treadwell, a university professor who specialized in Elizabethan drama, and Bill Shepherd from the world of film and TV production, worked with Clive Brill, a former BBC director/producer, to make their vision a reality. Their goal was, simply, to produce Shakespeare for the 21st Century , the definitive, ultimate audio Shakespeare. This is it – they have achieved their goal.

The creative team designed a sophisticated layering of sound and music to provide a complete audio environment. Music was composed by Dominique Le Gendre, whose award-winning talents matched the art of the performers. All the plays were recorded at one of London?s leading studios. The Sound House. Continue reading