1981-1990ClassicsDramaKenneth BranaghUnited KingdomWilliam Shakespeare

Kenneth Branagh – Henry V (1989)

A 1989 British drama film adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh, based on William Shakespeare’s play of the same name about Henry V of England. The film stars Branagh in the title role with Paul Scofield, Derek Jacobi, Ian Holm, Emma Thompson, Alec McCowen, Judi Dench, Robbie Coltrane, Brian Blessed, and Christian Bale in supporting roles.

The film received worldwide critical acclaim and has been widely considered one of the best Shakespeare film adaptations ever made. For her work on the film, Phyllis Dalton won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and Kenneth Branagh, in his directorial debut, received Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Best Director.

Branagh’s film is frequently compared with the 1944 film of the play directed by and starring Laurence Olivier. The visual style of Branagh’s film is grittier and more realistic than that of Olivier’s. For example, his film avoids Olivier’s use of stylized sets, and, where Olivier staged the Battle of Agincourt on a sunlit field, Branagh’s takes place amid rain-drenched mud and gore. Nearly all of the scenes involving the comic characters were also staged as drama, rather than in the broad, more slapstick way in which Olivier staged them, because Branagh felt that modern audiences would not see the humor in these scenes.

While the text of the Chorus’ monologues are the same, the setting for them has been adapted to reflect the nature of the motion picture adaptation of the play. Unlike the other performers, who are dressed in clothing contemporary to the actual Henry V to reflect their characters, the Chorus is dressed in modern 20th century clothing. The opening monologue, originally written to compensate for the limitations of on stage theater to represent the historical scenes presented, is delivered on an empty motion picture sound stage with unfinished sets. The other chorus monologues are delivered on location where the relevant action is taking place. In all cases, the chorus speaks directly to the camera, addressing the audience.

Henry V received near-universal critical acclaim for Branagh’s Oscar-nominated performance and direction, for the accessibility of its Shakespearean language, and for its score by Patrick Doyle. It currently holds a rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 83 out of 100, based on 17 reviews—all positive. Henry V also ranks #1 on the Rotten Tomatoes list of Greatest Shakespeare Movies, beating Akira Kurosawa’s Ran (1985) and Branagh’s own version of Hamlet (1996), respectively ranking in second and third place.

Roger Ebert, noted critic of the Chicago Sun-Times, gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars, highly praising Branagh’s performance and writing, “There is no more stirring summons to arms in all of literature than Henry’s speech to his troops on St. Crispan’s Day, ending with the lyrical ‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.’ To deliver this speech successfully is to pass the acid test for anyone daring to perform the role of Henry V in public, and as Kenneth Branagh, as Henry, stood up on the dawn of the Battle of Agincourt and delivered the famous words, I was emotionally stirred even though I had heard them many times before. That is one test of a great Shakespearian actor: to take the familiar and make it new.” Variety magazine also gave the film a positive review, calling Henry V “A stirring, gritty and enjoyable pic which offers a plethora of fine performances from some of the U.K.’s brightest talents.”

Henry V (Kenneth Branagh 1989).mkv

Container:  	Matroska
Runtime: 	2h 17mn
Size: 	2.10 GiB
Codec: 	x264
Resolution: 	716x466 ~> 862x466
Aspect ratio:  	1.85:1
Frame rate: 	23.976 fps
Bit rate: 	1 992 Kbps
BPP: 	0.249
#1:  	English 2.0ch AC-3 @ 192 Kbps (Stereo)




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