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Film versions of Shakespeare plays

(23 Posts)
Tony2018 Fri 14-Sep-18 14:45:28

Does anyone have a favourite film version of a Shakespeare play?

For Hamlet my favourite is probably the one directed by Tony Richardson's from 1969. Very claustrophobic setting filmed at the Roundhouse in London with no outdoor or location filming. I love Nicol Williamson as Hamlet although he always seems to get lots of criticism - I think you either love him or hate him, he is one of my favourite actors and wish he done more films. Anthony Hopkins is a very young Claudius, and Marianne Faithfull is Ophelia.

For King Lear my favourite is the one directed by Peter Brook from 1970. Paul Scofield is Lear. Its very dark and brooding, filmed in black and white, lots of misty bleak location shooting.

For Macbeth I'd go for the Roman Polanski's 1971 film. Love Jon Finch as Macbeth, another favourite actor.

My favourite film version of Othello is Orson Welles' version from 1952. Welles directs and plays Othello. Incredibly beautiful back and white filming.

Richard III - think I'd go with the one with Ian McKellen from 1996 set in a 1930s fascist version of England. Love Ian McKellen's performance and some really interesting use of location filming.

MiniMoon Fri 14-Sep-18 15:31:22

Romeo and Juliet directed by Franco Zeffirelli starring Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. My sister and I went to see it at the cinema when it was first released in 1968. (Wow that seems so long ago), there wasn't a dry eye in the house at the end. Everyone left the cinema weeping. It was lovely. I've never seen a version to match it.

OldMeg Fri 14-Sep-18 15:31:31

No way! The only way is to watch The Bard being performed live.

lemongrove Fri 14-Sep-18 15:38:33

your choice Tony of Richard 111 [Nazi era] that really is a
brilliant film.

Cinemas are doing live screenings around the country at the moment so that's theatre and film in one go.

MawBroon Fri 14-Sep-18 15:43:05

I take your point Old Meg but the live streamings are very very good and certainly better than not seeing a play at all.

lemongrove Fri 14-Sep-18 15:48:37

Streamings! Thanks Maw I used the wrong word.

Grandma70s Fri 14-Sep-18 17:34:02

As a teenager I saw the Olivier Henry V so often I knew it by heart.

BBbevan Fri 14-Sep-18 18:24:25

Kiss me Kate., with Howard Keel. 1950s I think

callgirl1 Fri 14-Sep-18 21:24:19

Grandma70s, I saw the Olivier Henry V as well, at school, back in the mists of time. Loved it.
I`d forgotten about Kiss Me Kate being a version of The Taming of the Shrew, so that`s another Shakespeare play in film that I`ve seen.

Hellosunshine Fri 14-Sep-18 22:38:49

Definitely Roman Polanskis 1971 version of Macbeth, filmed in Northumberland.

Chewbacca Fri 14-Sep-18 23:06:23

I went to see Romeo and Juliet in 1968 as well MiniMoon. We went as a school party for our English Lit O level. All these years later and I still remember Olivia Hussey as being breathtakingly beautiful.

I agree 're the live streaming at local cinemas; rather that than not at all. I'm booked to go to see Madness of George 111 in November. Getting to see wonderful theatre and not having to go to London is the best of all worlds!

Tony2018 Fri 14-Sep-18 23:43:43

Coriolanus from 2010 with Ralph Fiennes playing Coriolanus as well as directing is one of my favourite recently filmed versions, with a Eastern European Balkans setting reminiscent of the wars in Yugoslavia.

annodomini Sat 15-Sep-18 00:47:28

I remember with nostalgia Julius Caesar from 1953, my first Shakespeare play. Marlon Brando took my fancy as Mark Antony. James Mason was Brutus and Cassius was played by John Gielgud. What a cast!
The two versions of Henry V are so different - The Olivier version is full of patriotism to keep audiences' hopes alive during WW2. The much later Branagh version is more pensive and makes us think of the wastefulness and squalor of war - lots of mud, reminiscent of Paschendaele. I like them both.

absent Sat 15-Sep-18 05:40:43

I like watching Shakespeare's plays live for that, obviously, was the intention when they were written. I went to see the production of Hamlet (not my favourite play by any means) at the Roundhouse but haven't seen the film. In fact, I have seen few film versions of Shakespeare's plays but do recall a film of Much Ado About Nothing (one of my favourites that I think was directed by Kenneth Branagh. I think he also did Henry V but I have to say I really rather enjoyed the wartime version with Sir Laurence.

eazybee Sat 15-Sep-18 10:35:51

I enjoyed the Kenneth Branagh version of Hamlet, all four hours of it, with wonderful performances from him, a luminous Julie Christie, a sinister Richard Briers, a dashing Rufus Sewell and a cameo role from the Duke of Marlborough in whose home the play was filmed.
I also loved the Polanski version of Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night's Dream with Michelle Pffeifer and Rupert ?, although the dialogue was woefully cut.

Tony2018 Sat 15-Sep-18 12:31:50

I like all Olivier’s Shakespeare films, but especially his Hamlet, Henry V, and Richard III.

I love Olivier’s Henry V starts in a recreation of the Globe theatre as it would have been at the time the play was written and you see the actors messing around off stage. The William Walton scores are also brilliant.

I don’t think Olivier’s Othello is anywhere near as good as Orson Welles’ version. Oliver looks like he has slapped black shoe polish on his face and is speaking with a West Indian accent, Whereas Welles’ portrayal was about 20 years earlier but much more sensitive. I do also find Olivier’s massive false nose a bit distracting in Richard III !

There’s a really nice As You Like It with Olivier acting but not directing from about 1936. But I think his Merchant of Venice and King Lear we’re a bit bland.

eazybee Sat 15-Sep-18 16:57:37

I watched Olivier's Henry V, followed by the Branagh version; completely different from each other yet equally compelling.
Couldn't stand his Richard 111, gross over-acting, and found his Hamlet, or was it Othello, very stilted. Maggie Smith was clearly in training for Downton Abbey.

Tony2018 Sat 15-Sep-18 17:31:28

Maggie Smith was Ophelia in the Othello, it was a very late 1960s production and always feels a bit ‘off’, Not least Olivier in blackface pretending to be a West Indian.

The Hamlet is from 1948 in black and white and Oliver is a bit stilted and ‘hammy’, but I still enjoy it and the musical score is wonderful. However he does leave out Rosenkrantz and Gildensyein altogether.

Niobe Sat 15-Sep-18 19:17:39

I must admit to loving The Taming of the Shrew starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. The sets and costumes are sumptuous!

Deedaa Sat 15-Sep-18 22:38:28

The Taming of the Shrew was lovely Niobe, like a renaissance painting come to life. I like both Olivier's Henry V and Branagh's. Haven't see Ian McKellan's film of Richard III but I did see it when he did it on stage. I first saw Olivier's Richard III when I was seven and I've always enjoyed it. One of my favourite Shakespeare films is Derek Jarman's The Tempest with Toyah Wilcox. It may be a bit of an acquired taste but I love it.

Parsley3 Sat 15-Sep-18 23:27:15

Peter Hall’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Judy Dench, Helen Mirren and Diana Rigg is one of my favourites.

Tony2018 Thu 20-Sep-18 22:08:12

The Peter Hall^A Midsummer Night’s Dream^ is on Amazon Prime streaming video for free at the moment if you have Amazon Prime. They’ve actually got it on twice, one with subtitles and one without!

A love it how Puck zips in and out (its the actor who plays the robot in the first Alien film can’t remember his time). Young Judy Dench and I think it’s Ian Richardson are fantastic, Judy Dench is naked apart from green paint! I think it from 1968 and wonder if it’s drug inspired? The actor who was in Straw Dogs and Omen is also brilliant in it.

The best is the play within the play with hyacinth Bucket’s husband in it.

The picture quality is brilliant but it’s the best Misummer Nights Dream I’ve ever seen.

Nanos Fri 21-Sep-18 08:52:26

I loved Kenneth Brannagh’s film version of Much Ado About Nothing. It is a splendid production with a terrific cast.

Although not in keeping with the original question, my lovely English teacher, Mr Driscoll read Macbeth and Julius Caesar aloud in class and he had thirty teenagers in the palm of his hand. His soft Scottish lilt and deep understanding of Shakespeare lives in my memory to this day.