Hamlet (1969)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5

, 1969, Screenplay by , based on the play by Cinematography by Produced by , , , Music by Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by

Tony Richardson directed a production of Shakespeare’s tragedy about the great Dane at the Roundhouse Theatre in the late sixties, then transferred the production to film for posterity. Shot using more or less the same cast and turning the theatre into a studio, it’s filmed in a straightforward fashion with little flourish but never feels like a play on film, there’s enough ingenuity with camera angles to give it the dimensions of a full-blooded cinematic adaptation, while the script is pared down, clocking in at half of the play’s usual running time and featuring a couple of scenes boldly re-arranged.  ’s interpretation of the lead role favours the countercultural spirit of the day, playing Hamlet without much brooding and focusing instead of on upending the corrupt ruling order with his increasingly erratic ways. makes a haunting, lovely Ophelia while appears as an incisive, elegant Gertrude, but what impresses most is Richardson’s pace, it moves at a healthy trot without ever feeling rushed, and includes a number of Hamlet’s soliloquies (more than Olivier held on to in his version) that don’t slow the experience down. Look for a teenaged as one of the court ladies (she was Faithful’s understudy in the stage version).

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