All The World's A Stage - the Shakespeare thread

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

  1. DVEric

    DVEric Forum Resident

    The silent battle scene in Ran is to die for. Throne Of Blood and Ran are two of my favorite adaptations, even though the acting in TOB is a bit over the top with the ultra-masculine delivery of dialogue. If I spoke like the male actors in TOB for 10 minutes, I'd have a two-day sore throat.
     
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  2. carrick doone

    carrick doone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Thanks for the tip on Throne of Blood. I haven't heard of it before. Wikipedia lists it as one of the best film versions of the play. Would you say that's true?
     
  3. carrick doone

    carrick doone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    I liked it. I thought Mel was as good as he could be. I liked the setting and filming of the movie. And yes, I thought Glenn Close was fantastic in the role.
     
  4. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
    One of my favorite Shakespeare films:

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    It's a western reworking of Othello, with the emphasis shifted to the Cassio character (Ford).

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    Rod Steiger is superb as "Iago"

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  5. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    Yes, I will have to have a look at the Welles Othello at some point. I think I saw his Macbeth once, but don't remeber it too well. I also think I saw "O" once. Does it use the original text?

    Branagh's Henry V might not have been my first Shakespeare movie, but it made a big impression on me and is still one of my favourites (definitely the one I've seen the most). And yes, Branagh never reached that level again.

    I love Luhrmann's Romeo & Juliet. What a ride!

    Shakespeare in Love was nice and all the hidden quotes were fun to discover. It certainly showed the cleverness of Stoppard, though as you said, nowhere nearly as profound as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. That one has so many layers, most of which I only discovered much later.

    And yes, I have seen Ran a few times. I may revisit it now, during my Shakespeare fest.

    Last night I watched Zeffirelli's Romeo & Juliet. I think it's ok, mostly for the very young actors playing the star-crossed lovers. Olivia Hussey's mixture of beauty and youthful innocence makes her a perfect Juliet.
     
  6. DVEric

    DVEric Forum Resident

    Well, it's hard to go wrong with Kurosawa, but of the adaptations that I know of, it's probably my favorite. There is a scene where the forest/trees move toward the castle that knocks my sock off every time. Also, Kurosawa injects some humor into the first third of the movie, which is interesting.
     
  7. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    It's a pity there are so few actors and directors around at the moment to do justice to some of these plays.

    That said, while I love much of what Shakespeare wrote, quite a bit of his oeuvre leaves me stone cold. Mostly the comedies, some of which have not (imo) aged well. Much Ado About Nothing, for instance: never has a play been more aptly titled.
     
  8. DVEric

    DVEric Forum Resident

    I had a professor in college that had a funny take on Zeffirelli's R&J; he said it was well done, but if you are going to have a couple of teenagers getting naked, don't let Shakespeare get in your way. :agree: Olivia Hussey is both sexy and innocent and gives a very nice performance of Juliet.
     
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  9. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    That's a shame. Biron's Soliloquy at the end of Act III of Love's Labor's Lost is breathtaking ('And I forsooth in love')
     
  10. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    That's a good one and Berowne is a good character, though I'm not fond of the play as a whole. There are good things in most of his plays (and in the obvious collaborations, it's clear which parts were written by the Bard).
     
  11. arley

    arley Well-Known Member

    Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight tells the Henry IV-Henry V story as seen through the eyes of Falstaff (played by Welles). It's a perfect example of a very low budget film that achieves greatness.

    One cinematic adaptation I didn't care for was Olivier's Hamlet. Too overtly Oedipal, and he completely eliminated Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
     
  12. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    Chimes is easily the best English language Shakespeare film ever made, I'd say: it manages to retain the spirit of the Henry lV plays while remaining inherently cinematic. A difficult feat to pull off.

    I don't think any of Olivier's Shakespeare films have worn well. You can tell there were large chunks of the plays that Olivier just wasn't interested in and they are quite lifeless on screen.

    As for Hamlet: I'd like to see a production, just for once, where Hamlet doesn't want to **** his mother.
     
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  13. carrick doone

    carrick doone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    It's funny how Welle's Shakespeare seems to have a strong positive impact with his films even now. In comparison I've seen a bit of the Olivier and it seems very dated and stiff.

    I know a little bit about his early life but I don't recall him having a huge background in Shakespeare on the stage or even in Radio.
     
  14. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    I didn't expect much, and came out wowed. Gielgud was tremendous, but Orson really adored his role, obviously.
     
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  15. Siegmund

    Siegmund Forum Resident

    Location:
    England, UK
    Towards the end of his life, Welles gave an extensive series of interviews to the BBC, in which he ranged across his whole career. In talking about Chimes, he described Falstaff as 'the only example I can think of of a totally good man'(sic), a remark that has always intrigued me.
     
  16. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    I have to think about that. hmmmm.
    Thanks for repeating it, though.
     
  17. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie
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    Roger Hill and Orson Welles on the teaching of Shakespeare - from The Todd School, Woodstock Illinois in 1938 – Wellesnet | Orson Welles Web Resource

    On the Teaching of Shakespeare and Other Great Literature

    By Roger Hill and Orson Welles

    The English Journal – June 1938

    In attempting to make our study of literature scientific and analytical we have merely made it dull. A Shakespearean play is no cadaver, useful for an autopsy. It is a living, vibrant entity that has the power of grasping us by the hand and leading us up onto a peak in Darien. “But I can't understand Shakespeare” says the high-school boy. “It takes a gray-bearded professor to know what he is talking about.” You are wrong, Johnny. It's the gray beard that you can't understand. He has asked you to read Shakespeare with a pair of glasses smoked to a dull and dingy gray. Take them off. It was written for you, for the groundlings, for the unscholarly Globe patrons who walked in from the cockfight on the street. Only those folks whose blood courses hot through their veins can understand these tingling lines. Shakespeare said everything—brain to belly, every mood and minute of a man's season. His language is starlight and fireflies and the sun and moon. He wrote it with tears and blood and beer, and his words march like heartbeats. Chaucer spun husky, lusty yarns that are today as vivid and as vital and as rousing as a date in a parked coupe. Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, and Byron sang songs to set your senses a tingle. They spoke for you-not for the pedagogues. They spoke with the tongues of men and of angels, and not to know the cadence of their voices, not to have great snatches of their immortal lines ringing in your ears as you view life's kaleidoscope is to miss one of life's major thrills.

    - Orson Welles is the twenty-two-year-old actor-director-producer of the Mercury Theatre who has been enthusiastically acclaimed for his productions this year of Julius Caesar in modern dress, Thomas Dekker's The Shoemakers' Holiday, and George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House. Last season he directed the WPA Federal Theatre's all-negro Macbeth and Dr. Faustus.

    - Roger Hill is headmaster of the Todd School for Boys at Woodstock, Illinois. Mr. Hill has collaborated with Mr. Welles in publishing a text, Everybody's Shakespeare. Mr. Welles attended the Todd School as a boy.​

    ORSON WELLES writes the introduction to EVERYBODY'S SHAKESPEARE in the North Atlantic – Wellesnet | Orson Welles Web Resource

    ON STAGING SHAKESPEARE AND ON SHAKESPEARE'S STAGE

    By Orson Welles

    Director of the Mercury Theater

    Shakespeare said everything. Brain to belly; every mood and minute of a man's season. His language is starlight and fireflies and the sun and moon. He wrote it with tears and blood and beer, and his words march like heartbeats. He speaks to everyone and we all claim him but it's wise to remember, if we would really appreciate him, that he doesn't properly belong to us but to another world; a florid and entirely remarkable world that smelled assertively of columbine and gun powder and printer's ink, and was vigorously dominated by Elisabeth.

    Shakespeare speaks everybody's language, but with an Elizabethan accent. When he came squawking and red faced into it, England could carry a tune and was learning to talk. It was a kid of a country, waking up noisily and too suddenly into adolescence and bounding blithely into the sunny, early morning of modern times.​
     
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  18. arley

    arley Well-Known Member

    Here's an interesting article on Welles' experiences with Shakespeare. By the way, Chimes at Midnight had its genesis in a failed Welles play, Five Kings--the play was 5 hours long with two intermissions, and it was poorly received.

    Orson Welles, Our Shakespeare

    It's interesting to imagine what Welles could have done with Lear.
     
  19. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dixie


    King Lear is a 1953 live television adaptation of the Shakespeare play staged by Peter Brook and starring Orson Welles. Preserved on kinescope, it aired October 18, 1953, as part of the CBS television series Omnibus, hosted by Alistair Cooke. The cast includes Micheál Mac Liammóir and Alan Badel.

    A heavily abridged version of the play, this production condensed the play by eliminating the characters of Edgar and Edmund. To compensate for their absence, the role of Oswald is expanded to take Edmund's part in the play's climax, and "Poor Tom" is included not as a disguised Edgar but as an actual madman. Welles returned to America to star in this presentation. He was guarded by IRS agents, prohibited to leave his hotel room when not at the studio, prevented from making any purchases, and the entire sum (less expenses) he earned went to his tax bill. Welles returned to England after the broadcast.​

    Orson Welles … King Lear
    Natasha Parry … Cordelia
    Arnold Moss … Duke of Albany
    Bramwell Fletcher … Earl of Kent
    David J. Stewart … Oswald
    Margaret Phillips … Regan
    Beatrice Straight … Goneril
    Alan Badel … Fool
    Micheál Mac Liammóir … Poor Tom
    Frederick Worlock … Earl of Gloucester
    Scott Forbes … Duke of Cornwall
    Wesley Addy … King of France
    Fred Sadoff … Duke of Burgundy
     
  20. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    Olivier said the secret to a successful Lear was to have a Cordelia that weighed under 100 pounds.
     
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  21. arley

    arley Well-Known Member

    Jozef, thanks for that link. I'll watch it this weekend.

    Another very good Lear is James Earl Jones in a 1974 Great Performances broadcast. He was magnificent as usual. Interesting cast: Gloucester was played by Paul Sorvino, Edgar was Rene Auberjonois, and Raul Julia was terrifically sinister as Edmund. Some slick staging: in the duel between Edgar and Edmund, the characters are blindfolded.

    For some reason the YouTube poster listed this as 'Raul Julia King Lear', but it's James Earl Jones as Lear; but if you want to see Raul Julia's entrance speech ('Now, gods, stand up for b@stards!') it starts at 24:20.

     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
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  22. carrick doone

    carrick doone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    I am ABSOLUTELY Corrected. Thank you for that. The man truly was a genius.
     
  23. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    You guys made curious and I just ordered a DVD of Chimes at Midnight.

    This better be good.

    ;)
     
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  24. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    It's different. But if you like Welles at all, it's a must. He's all over the role like he's been waiting all his life.
     
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  25. ando here

    ando here Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york, ny
    It looks like many of the BBC (Ambrose Video) produced Shakespeare productions from the 70s are streaming on the free service, kanopy (you just need register through a university or with a public library card), at least through the NYPL catalogue. Made my night to see my favorite production in the series, Measure For Measure ('79), available for streaming! Very nice resource.
     

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