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William Shakespeare

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

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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. Read More »

Thea Sharrock – ‘As You Like It’ at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (2010)

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Rosalind, the daughter of a banished duke, falls in love with Orlando at a wrestling match, but her usurping uncle, jealous of her popularity, banishes her from court. Disguised as a boy she seeks out her father and his friends in the Forest of Arden. Here she meets Orlando again and, under the guise of a young man, counsels him in the art of love.

Directed by Thea Sharrock
Designed by Dick Bird
Music composed by Stephen Warbeck
Choreographed by Fin Walker

Recorded live at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London, in October 2009. Read More »

Matías Piñeiro – La princesa de Francia AKA The Princess of France (2014)

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Victor returns to Buenos Aires after a stay in Mexico for his father’s death to prepare a radio production of “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” Reuniting with his repertory, he finds himself sorting out complicated entanglements with girlfriend Paula, sometime lover Ana, and departed actress Natalia, as well as his muddled relations with the constellation of friends involved with the project. As the film tracks the group’s crisscrossing movements and interactions, their lives become increasingly enmeshed with the fiction they’re reworking, potential outcomes multiply, and reality itself seems subject to transformation. An intimate work that takes characters and viewers alike into dizzying realms of possibility, The Princess of France is the most ambitious film yet from one of world cinema’s brightest young talents, a cumulatively thrilling experience. Read More »

Grigori Kozintsev – Gamlet AKA Hamlet [+extras] (1964)

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Synopsis:

A screen adaptation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy.
The somber Elsinore Castle that keeps secrets of many a crime is looming over the rocky coastline. Prince Hamlet once again puts the question: “To be, or not to be?” He is the first thinker in the line of warriors, a poet and a philosopher, a character so close to future generations. In the utterly corrupted kingdom, a lone hero is bound to take up arms to avenge his father’s death. This film became a champion among Lenfilm Studio’s prize-winning motion pictures – 23 awards in four years. The musical score was written by the great Russian composer Dmitry Shostakovich. Read More »

Franco Zeffirelli – Hamlet (1990)

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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans revenge. Read More »

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

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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. Read More »

Grigori Kozintsev – Korol Lir AKA King Lear (1969)

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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. Read More »