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Hamlet By Brook / Brook By Brook (2001)

Peter Brook  |  NR |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Directors: Peter Brook
  • Format: Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Arte
  • DVD Release Date: May 10, 2005
  • Run Time: 204 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007TKHSO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,888 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • Facets cine-notes collectible booklet, w/essay by Jean-Claude Carriere

Editorial Reviews

Theater director Peter Brook, renowned for his innovative and controversial stage plays (Marat/Sade; The Mahabharata), interprets Hamlet in a gripping, stripped-down production that highlights the tragic heart of the play. In the title role, Adrian Lester heads a stellar cast of the world's best actors; the international flavor to the cast adds a modern touch to this most famous of Shakespeare's plays. The documentary BROOK BY BROOK accompanies THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET. Directed by Brook's son, Simon, this video portrait offers an intimate look of the theater legend as only someone close to him could produce. Brook reveals many insights into life and work, including his unique techniques with ac

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Handsome, but Missing Much January 6, 2006
This may be a very good example of a Peter Brook production, but I don't think it's a good interpretation of 'Hamlet'. Too much is cut, and while some sequences have been merely transplanted from their original places, they're too often replaced in contexts where they simply don't make sense.

More distressingly, all of Shakespeare's humor has been stripped from the performance. The changes of tone in the original provide texture and depth to the play; they're not 'inconsistencies'. At 134 minutes, it's good that the production is short, because a full three-plus hours of such unrelenting earnestness would have been rough sledding indeed.

This production is apparently famous as 'Peter Brook's "Hamlet"', which I suppose is appropriate because it's not quite Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'...
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two interesting films September 19, 2005
I've studied Peter Brook for years. I find his methods fascinating. I love his Mahabaharata.

In Hamlet, Peter Brook pares down the play to its essentials. It makes for a very quiet, meditative look at Hamlet, the character, which allows us to explore him deeper than a more flamboyant portrayal. Adrian Lester does an excellent job.

In Brook by Brook, we catch a small glimpse of Brook as a person. The documentary doesn't capture him as his books do, but it still educates the viewer on a most innovative individual.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hamlet and Brook: A meaning insightful into theatre October 10, 2007
Attempting to capture any theatrical production on film is always a difficult process. Of course, we are not viewing the film in a commercial context but as an audio visual recording of theatre. Even if recorded as television with a multiple camera set up, with multiple takes, and minimum audience participation, we need to understand it as a theatrical recording in this different light. As a theatre lover and Drama teacher, I really appreciate and respect any new resource that attempts to offer an insight into this unique theatrical process.

This companion package of Brook's "Hamlet" and the "Brook on Brook" documentary is no different. It actually presents an excellent and successful opportunity to study both a significant theatre production and an important theatre practitioner in Peter Brook.

I particular found Brook's Hamlet a moving and emotional performance that encouraged me to discover addition layers of meaning of this familiar play through Brook's interpretation. This Hamlet offers us a pared back view of the play, exploring what is the essence of the tale. There are numerous cuts to the full text that help to facilitate this retelling of the Hamlet fable. More importantly, this Hamlet offers us a practical chance to study how some of Brook's theories and ideas practically manifest within this theatrical/filmic production.

Personally, I loved this chance to get an insight into Brook's theatre brain. If you are a student of theatre rather than just a shakespeare lover, this DVD package is worth a go!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for Adrian Lester alone April 26, 2013
The Tragedy of Hamlet (2002, TV)

Adrian Lester - Hamlet
Jeffery Kissoon - Claudius/Ghost
Natasha Parry - Gertrude
Shantala Shivalingappa - Ophelia
Bruce Myers - Polonius/First Gravedigger
Rohan Siva - Laertes/Guildenstern

Adapted and directed by Peter Brook.

Colour, 134 min.

It is mightily wrong to regard this movie as "Brook's "Hamlet". Most certainly, it is not. It's Adrian Lester's "Hamlet". It matters not that he looks like he's about to plunge into some of Bob Marley's greatest hits. This is an understated but very subtle and altogether extremely powerful performance. It will repay re-visiting. Fabulous diction, too; one could easily take a dictation and write down the whole part (or what's left of it).

Adrian Lester has a kind of quiet intensity that is quite deceptive; a lot can be missed if one is not concentrated. He can be quite funny when discussing different cloud shapes with Polonius or ''country matters'' with Ophelia, yet in the ''fishmonger scene'', and even more so in the confrontations with both ladies, his quietness often assumes sinister dimensions of suppressed aggression. The occasional explosive outbursts are not his forte, but I do wonder how even then he manages to preserve his marvellous elocution. Hamlet's great soliloquies - ''O that this too too sullied flesh would melt'', ''O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!'', ''To be, or not to be'' - are not just the highest points in the play, but also Adrian Lester at his absolute best. All these are delivered in the same calm but strangely moving way, with rich, expressive voice and minimal body language. They define the noun ''soul-searching'' so perfectly that they may be put in any English dictionary. This is great acting.
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