All The World's A Stage - the Shakespeare thread

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by JozefK, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. ando here

    ando here Well-Known Member

    Location:
    new york, ny
    Of course it's all nonsense. I'm certainly not defending them but the theories are spouted by otherwise well respected folks, nonetheless. As I said, I don't believe that anyone who has really studied his works could come away with any other impression than Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. Now, whether he was at heart an apologist for the monarchy or an artist who was far more interested in the deeper implications of human behavior - or both - is another (far more interesting) observation.

    I was reading Shaw's review of an early 20th century British production of Much Ado About Nothing (Folger edition) earlier today where he stated quite rightly that what distinguishes Shakespeare ultimately is not the matter in his material but the music of his words - the enchantment that is evoked when a gifted actor delivers them. That is Shakespeare. Everyone would do well to remember, discover and appreciate that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
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  2. The Hermit

    The Hermit Forum Resident

    :rolleyes: Americans! :p
     
  3. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    Been a big fan since I read Macbeth in school and took a few courses during my time as a student of Anglistics. Last week I watched a stage performance of Macbeth and it made me revisit some of my DVDs. Over a couple of days I rewatched:

    Macbeth (Polanski)
    Merchant of Venice (Pacino)
    Othello (Fishburne/Branagh)
    Julius Caesar (Mason/Brando)
    Hamlet (Branagh)
    [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (by Tom Stoppard, brilliant, clever and big fun)]

    Coming up next:
    Romeo & Juliet (Zeffirelli, maybe Luhrmann as well)
    Henry V (Branagh)
    Much Ado about Nothing (Whedon)

    Maybe:
    Much Ado about Nothing (Branagh)
    Midsummer Night's Dream (1999, Kline, Pfeiffer, etc)
    Macbeth (Fassbender/Cotillard)
    [not too big a fan of these]


    Love the bard.
     
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  4. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    Taming of the Shrew flick from the Royal Company is our next film. I have to miss their Macbeth cause I'll be out of state. It was soooo good to hear Julius Caesar again, what a wonderful passionate work.
     
  5. ando here

    ando here Well-Known Member

    Location:
    new york, ny
    What did you think of Polanski's Macbeth?
     
  6. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    I love it. It's dirty and bloody as it should be. I first saw it when I was 18, when I read it at school.

    Though I don't know why Polanski decided to put these spoiler visions in when Macbeth gets his second set of prophecies.
     
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  7. Scopitone

    Scopitone Wanna be Archtop when I grow up

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    The Branagh/Thompson MUCH ADO is delightful to me. What is it you don't care for?

    Amy Acker is an absolute revelation as Beatrice in the later version. That film took me a little time to get drawn in, but I ended up really liking some of the choices they made.
     
  8. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    Branagh and Thompson are perfect, but I'm not too fond of the rest, like Keaton and Reeves.

    Yes, Acker keeps surprising me. I never would have guessed her scope when I first saw her in Angel.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
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  9. Scopitone

    Scopitone Wanna be Archtop when I grow up

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I forgot about Keanu. I like him a lot in almost everything. But he had a period there where he was trying to prove he could be a serious "actor" with MUCH ADO and DRACULA.

    It didn't work. :laugh:
     
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  10. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    We loved Keaton and hated Keanu as well. The chemistry between Emma and Ken was perfect, I agree
     
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  11. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    Yes, he was a really bad villain, and not in a good way.
     
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  12. ando here

    ando here Well-Known Member

    Location:
    new york, ny
    Yeah, I've found the second half of Macbeth to be a creative challenge to fillmakers and stage directors alike. Trouble is, the first third has such momentum; then once Macbeth has the crown the intrigue is largely over and we're left watching his (and the queen's) disintergration. It's why Kurosawa's Throne of Blood remains my favorite Macbeth film adaptation. Miki's (Banquo's) belligerence vs. Washizu's (Macbeth's) treachery and eventual downfall are fascinating to watch in Kirosawa's samurai version. In most straight Shakespeare productions we're just waiting for Dunsinane forest to enter stage left.

    Must say, I do admire Polanski's final Macbeth/Macduff swordfight. Very nicely done, though by that time my attention has usually wandered a bit.

    And I still enjoy Orson Welles' 1948 cardboard Macbeth, fake Scottish brogues and all!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
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  13. DVEric

    DVEric Forum Resident

    You might like King Lear starring Ian Holm -- very well done. I'm partial to it because KL is my favorite Shakespeare work, by far. There are many well done films of his plays, but there is an inherent conflict with cinema, in that it's primarily visual. Shakespeare's plays were made to be performed (and were performed) on dark, empty stages. Any scenery took the viewer's attention off the language and the performance. Any money put into the visual aspect was usually limited to ornate clothing. Films like Titus by Julie Taymor are well made, but rediculously overblown, as are most of the big budget Shakespeare adaptations. When directors make a WS film that is full of visual flash, they are better off scrapping WS 's verse and replace in it with modern prose. Most of the modern production plays that I've seen on stage suffer from the same thing -- scenery overkill.
     
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  14. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    The King Lear with Holm sounds interesting, I will have a look at it.

    I partly agree with the risk of big moviemaking overlaying the text, but most of the time it works ok for me. A successful example for me is Henry V by Branagh, a big screen movie that still let's the text shine. It's such a fun contradiction with the opening chorus that deals with the limitations of the stage, which a movie is not subjected to. We actually get to see the vasty fields of France and the fighting armies. His Hamlet on the other hand got pretty much lost in its movie opulence, not even trusting the actor's recital to stand for itself.
     
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  15. DVEric

    DVEric Forum Resident

    I agree. There are a number of very nice aspects to Hamlet, but Branagh's portrayal of Hamlet was dorky and his performance is the biggest detractor in the film, along with the overt visuals
     
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  16. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    I was so pumped when I heard Olivier was doing a televised Lear. Fantastic......and Diana Rigg is a daughter. I do have to try Holm's, though.
     
  17. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    wrong. Jack Lemmon is the worst part.:sigh:
     
  18. DVEric

    DVEric Forum Resident

    Fair enough. :agree:
     
  19. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    I think there's also a missing ending to Taming of the Shrew. The framing device at the beginning would logically have had a match at the end to close the "play within the play," which I suspect would have altered the perspective of the story. One thinks that someone as sensitive to his women characters as Shakespeare would have ended this play with a critique of such a boorish figure as Petruchio.

    I recently shot promos for a wonderful production of Shrew that hinted at this by interpreting Kate's final speech with a sarcastic twist in the middle which turns Petruchio's apparent triumph in on itself.
     
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  20. DVEric

    DVEric Forum Resident

    TOTALLY!!!!! The play within the play wraps itself up nicely, with the traditional 3 marriages at the end of a comedy, but the characters that begin the play have two short scenes and disappear. Somewhere the endcap disappeared. It's one of the clunkier plays to come down the ages. It would be interesting to know what happened at the end and what pages went missing. As you suggest, the ending must have had some relevance to the internal play. I would be interested to see or read the version you worked on. I enjoy Shrew mostly because it shows a younger Shakespeare developing his craft. You're right, there are various threads that don't resolve themselves (as you say, Petruchio is an example), partly because of the mess the missing pages make, but also because Shakespeare wasn't fully developed as a writer -- that would come a bit later with Romeo & Juliet and skyrocket with Hamlet. :agree:
     
  21. DVEric

    DVEric Forum Resident

    [​IMG]
     
  22. ando here

    ando here Well-Known Member

    Location:
    new york, ny
    DVEric, You and Solaris (and everyone else) might appreciate Germaine Greer's take on Kate in Taming of the Shrew as she speaks to the problematic issue of the resolution in the play - though she makes no mention of its cause being due to a journeyman playwright or missing material:

     
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  23. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
  24. carrick doone

    carrick doone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Good list.
    For the visuals and performance try finding the Welles Othello. The story of how he put it together is amazing also. There is also a good version called "O" that uses high school as the background.
    Branagh's Henry V was my intro to movie Shakespeare. Brilliant and I don't think he has topped it in any of his movie performances. He also directed.
    Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet was great. Such a bold, loud and interesting take on it. Clare Danes is great.
    I'm looking forward to Whedon's Much Ado about Nothing though it's a play I don't enjoy that much.
    In the vein of Rosencrantz although not nearly as profound an experience (and I am a huge fan of that movie and play and writer) have you tried Shakespeare in Love? Stoppard was a co-writer. I think his input was to shove as many Shakespearean references and characters into the movie as he could. You can also hear his dialogue throughout the film. He actually uplifts it from the rom com it set out to be.

    Have you taken a look at Kurosawa's Ran? A good, if slow version on King Lear.

    If you can't have access to good play renditions I think these movies are next best. It is the music of the words as someone said above.
     
  25. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    No respect for Mel Gibson's Hamlet?

    Actually, I felt it was an interesting different approach. And for my money, Glenn Close was the best Gertrude I've ever seen
     
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