Tag Archive: William Shakespeare

Falstaff (Chimes At Midnight)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Orson Welles takes one of Shakespeare’s most beloved characters and combines his appearances in five different plays into one smooth experience, finishing it off with narrative elements read by Ralph… Continue reading

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2014)

BBBB (out of 5) Not a film adaptation but a filmed performance of Julie Taymor’s production for Theatre For A New Audience, arranged especially for cinematic adaptation.  Taymor recorded a number of performances, including… Continue reading

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Prospero’s Books

BB.5 (out of 5) Peter Greenaway responds to the critical acclaim (and near mainstream status) of The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover with his most ambitious project yet, his own… Continue reading

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Macbeth

BBB.5 (out of 5) Shakespeare’s tale of regal hubris is brought to the screen brimming with powerful images.  Michael Fassbender is excellent as the titular Scottish warrior who is told by three sage… Continue reading

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All Night Long

BBB.5 (out of 5) Shakespeare’s Othello is loosely updated to an anniversary party among jazz musicians and their friends in this atmospheric drama by Basil Dearden. Richard Attenborough sets up the soiree for his… Continue reading

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The Tempest (2010)

BB.5 (out of 5) There is such promise in the pairing of Julie Taymor’s ripe visual style with one of Shakespeare’s most wondrous fantasies, and yet this one does not measure up to… Continue reading

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Hamlet Goes Business

BBB (out of 5) Aki Kaurismaki applies his humorously brittle style to Shakespeare in this adaptation of the well-known Danish play, in this case taking place in a family of corporate tycoons.  After… Continue reading

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Romeo And Juliet (1968)

BBBB (out of 5) Shakespeare’s most popular play is adapted once again to the big screen, and unlike George Cukor’s version with Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard, this one features protagonists who are… Continue reading

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The Taming Of The Shrew

BBBB (out of 5) The dream team of Burton and Taylor had one of their biggest hits together in this spirited adaptation of the Bard’s comedy. Kate is the viciously tempered elder sister of… Continue reading

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Hamlet (1990)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Mel Gibson is excellent in the title role of the much-depressed Danish prince whose recent loss of his father has put him into a quandary: is it possible to forgive… Continue reading

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Forbidden Planet

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Here’s the Gone With The Wind of 1950s science-fiction. Based loosely on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, this fantastic, adventurous space opera starts off with a captain (Leslie Nielsen) landing his… Continue reading

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Titus

BBBB (out of 5) Julie Taymor takes her groundbreaking stage production of Shakespeare’s first play and brings it to the screen, with all its bite intact for her cinematic directorial debut. Titus (Anthony… Continue reading

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Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

BB (out of 5) Tom Stoppard’s delightful play has lost much of its wit and energy in its transformation to the big screen. It centers around Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare’s… Continue reading

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Kiss Me Kate

BBB (out of 5) Bright and boisterous musical comedy based on Cole Porter’s successful stage play. Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel play a bickering couple who are reunited for a production of The Taming of… Continue reading

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The Merchant Of Venice

BBBB (out of 5) In sixteenth century Venice, the city’s rampant anti-Semitism has its own racism bite back when a Jewish moneylender (Al Pacino) looks to be repaid for the bond he has… Continue reading

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West Side Story

BBBB (out of 5) Fantastic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet takes the tale of star-crossed lovers and sets it as a musical among warring gangs of 1960s New York. Jerome Robbins’… Continue reading

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Twelfth Night (Twelfth Night or What You Will)

BBBB (out of 5) Energetic and enjoyable adaptation of William Shakespeare’s timeless comedy, about a shipwrecked maiden (Imogen Stubbs, director Trevor Nunn’s real-life wife) who disguises herself as a boy to better survive… Continue reading

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Othello (1995)

BB.5 (out of 5) Director Oliver Parker faithfully adapts much of Shakespeare’s original dialogue in this adaptation of the Bard’s play about the titular Moor, but his staging and direction is uneven and… Continue reading

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Richard III (1955)

BBBB (out of 5) Once you get over the silly fake nose and wig that seems to come out of an episode of The Smurfs, you’ll thoroughly enjoy Laurence Olivier‘s full-blooded performance as… Continue reading

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Henry V (The Chronicle History Of King Henry the Fift With His Battell At Agincourt In France)

BBBBB (out of 5) Laurence Olivier brought dramatic Shakespeare to the sound and colour screen for the first time, proving that even a historical play done in highly stylized prose could be exciting… Continue reading

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Hamlet (1948)

BBBBB (out of 5) Moody, atmospheric adaptation of the Bard’s most popular tragedy, directed with noirish zeal by Laurence Olivier. He also plays the title role, the very confused Prince of Denmark who… Continue reading

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William Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet

BB.5 (out of 5) Baz Luhrmann applies MTV music-video editing techniques to a classic play and comes out with an over-directed bore that is perked up by its few musical sequences but feels… Continue reading

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Richard III (1995)

BB.5 (out of 5) So much effort has been put into the design of this stylish adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most violent plays that the original material is sunken into the background… Continue reading

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The King Is Alive

BB (out of 5) Shakespeare comes easily to the desperate when a group of American tourists and their African driver are stranded after their bus breaks down in the middle of the Sahara desert.… Continue reading

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10 Things I Hate About You

BBB.5 (out of 5) Spirited modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew that has Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles playing the two seemingly incompatible lovers who are obviously perfect for each other. When… Continue reading

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William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

B.5 (out of 5) Uneven adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic fantasy play that will seem choppy and badly edited even to those completely unfamiliar with the original. Director Michael Lehmann has eliminated so much… Continue reading

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Julius Caesar

BBBB (out of 5) You wouldn’t think that Marlon Brando‘s mumbling Method acting would suit Shakespeare so well, but here’s evidence that given the right director (in this case, Joseph L. Mankiewicz slapping… Continue reading

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Were The World Mine

BBB.5 (out of 5) A lonely gay teenager at an all-boys’ prep school is encouraged by his enchanting English teacher to audition for their annual theatrical production and lands the role of Puck… Continue reading

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Tempest (1982)

BB (out of 5) Bloated, self-important near-adaptation of Shakespeare’s play in a modern setting, with John Cassavetes as an architect who has disturbing, prophetic dreams about his family. Fed up with his difficult… Continue reading

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Throne Of Blood (Kumonosu-Joo)

BBBBB (out of 5) Akira Kurosawa adapts Shakespeare’s Macbeth with stunning results. Toshiro Mifune is at his most grandly theatrical as a great warrior who is told by a prophet that he will… Continue reading

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Ran

BBBB (out of 5) Akira Kurosawa looks to Shakespeare once again for inspiration in this colour-saturated epic based on King Lear. An aging king (cinema legend Tatsuya Nakadai) offers his kingdom to his… Continue reading

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Coriolanus

BB (out of 5) One of Shakespeare’s least-known plays is adapted to the big screen by actor/director Ralph Fiennes, playing the Roman general who goes back and forth in popularity with his people… Continue reading

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The Legend Of The Black Scorpion (The Banquet) (Ye Yan)

BB.5 (out of 5) Shakespeare’s Hamlet is loosely reworked as a Chinese epic in this incredibly beautiful but shallow drama. After a powerful emperor mysteriously dies, his brother steps into the role of… Continue reading

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The Angelic Conversation

BB (out of 5) The most artistically minded viewers might get something out of this Derek Jarman experiment, but even that’s a long shot. A man makes a spiritual journey to cleanse himself… Continue reading

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The Tempest (1979)

BB.5 (out of 5) Confusing and unenjoyable adaptation of Shakespeare’s play by experimental filmmaker Derek Jarman. The plot virtually stays the same, that of an exiled King and his enemy let loose on… Continue reading

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935)

BBBB (out of 5) A cavalcade of Warner Bros. stars appears in this excellent adaptation of Shakespeare’s beloved fantasy, in which two sets of lovers take to the forests of ancient Athens and… Continue reading

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Romeo And Juliet (1936)

BBB (out of 5) While it has many things to recommend itself above other versions of the famous love story, particularly the rich black-and-white photography, this adaptation of Shakespeare’s most popular play certainly… Continue reading

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My Own Private Idaho

BBB (out of 5) Gus Van Sant’s first film after his critically acclaimed Drugstore Cowboy is this gritty, powerful drama that explores thlives of male prostitutes. Keanu Reeves plays the son of a… Continue reading

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Macbeth (The Tragedy Of Macbeth)

BBBB (out of 5) Roman Polanski returned to filmmaking for the first time after the brutal murder of his wife Sharon Tate and their unborn baby by the Manson family, and the project… Continue reading

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Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

BBBB (out of 5) Joss Whedon relaxed between bouts of tackling The Avengers by quickly filming a black and white, unadorned production of one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays at his home using… Continue reading

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Othello (1965)

BBBB (out of 5) Fans of Shakespeare will definitely want to take a look at this dramatic adaptation of the Bard’s tragedy, a highly superior film to the one Oliver Parker made in… Continue reading

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Love’s Labour’s Lost

BB.5 (out of 5) Kenneth Branagh once again revamps Shakespeare for the big screen, this time with rather minimal results. Brought up to a more modern, 1930s setting, and featuring songs and dances… Continue reading

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Hamlet (1996)

BB.5 (out of 5) Kenneth Branagh has definitely bitten off far more than he can chew with this ambitious adaptation of William Shakespeare’s famous play that faithfully runs four hours and is photographed… Continue reading

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Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

BBBB (out of 5) Shakespeare’s energetic comedy comes to life beautifully under Kenneth Branagh‘s sturdy direction, as couples swap and lovers quarrel in an Italian villa that is being visited by conquering soldiers. Branagh and… Continue reading

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Henry V

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Kenneth Branagh rightfully got himself the nickname of the modern Olivier with this excellent film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, which was also Olivier’s first directorial foray in 1944.  Told in… Continue reading

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Looking For Richard

BB.5 (out of 5) Self-indulgent examination of Shakespeare’s bloodbath tragedy Richard III has Al Pacino directing a semi-documentary of himself preparing for a production of the play, while interviewing some famous Hollywood faces about… Continue reading

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Gnomeo & Juliet

BB.5 (out of 5) The Bard’s eternal romance is retold in a most unusual setting: the rival neighbouring homes of Montague and Capulet are both populated by garden gnomes who, when the lights… Continue reading

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Hamlet (2000)

BBBB (out of 5) Following the trend of placing Shakespeare in modern settings, this very good film moves his classic tale of the moody Dane to contemporary Manhattan. Ethan Hawke plays the title character,… Continue reading

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