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Hamlet at Elsinore (2011)

Christopher Plummer , Robert Shaw  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Plummer, Robert Shaw, Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 25, 2011
  • Run Time: 166 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,493 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Christopher Plummer is joined by an all-star cast including Michael Caine, Robert Shaw, Donald Sutherland and Roy Kinnear in this historic production of Hamlet filmed on location at Elsinore, Denmark, the actual location where the play is set. Fresh off his smash hit performance in Rogers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, Christopher Plummer was nominated for an Emmy Award for his standout performance as the tragic Danish prince in Hamlet at Elsinore, the only production of Shakespeare's masterpiece ever filmed at Elsinore. This truly unique and thrilling production has not been seen in North America since its original premiere in 1966 on NET, the precursor to PBS, and is a must own for fans of the Bard.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
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I knew if any actor could make me finally appreciate William Shakespeare's "Hamlet", it is Christopher Plummer. I was right! I won't go into the play itself, or whether Shakespeare is the greatest playwright of all time; or whether Hamlet is the greatest male role of all time, and all that. Simply put, Plummer is completely mesmerizing as Hamlet. I couldn't take my eyes off charismatic Christopher for a second. If Plummer's Hamlet isn't definitive, (the "Best Hamlet" is a topic for endless debate), his interpretation definitely deserves to stand alongside Laurence Olivier and Richard Burton. But, I almost expected Plummer would knock my socks off. The real surprise here is Robert Shaw as King Claudius. Shaw easily matches Plummer in the charisma department. Shaw's Claudius is formidable, forceful, sexual and dangerous. Different productions place the emphasis on different character relationships. A production could place all the emphasis on Hamlet himself; or Hamlet and Ophelia, perhaps. Many productions place an obvious emphasis on the relationship between Hamlet and his mother, Queen Gertrude. Dramatically speaking, this production is an intriguing battle of wills between Hamlet and his uncle-stepfather Claudius.
Director Philip Saville's production was considered "radical" in many aspects. It was filmed at Elsinore Castle, where the play takes place. Many scenes were filmed outdoors. A lot of the play is set at night; directly against the crashing waves of the sea. The black and white photography is, of course, well-suited to the dark story. The supporting cast is excellent. Michael Caine, two years away from his breakout role in "Alfie", is an especially devoted Horatio. Dyson Lovell is a youthful, fresh-faced Laertes.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Performance of Hamlet Ever! December 11, 2011
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Okay, maybe not "ever"...I haven't seen them all, for goodness sakes! But after viewing the manic interpretations by Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant, I was pleased with Christopher Plummer. He's energetic, playful at times, melancholy when necessary and all quite naturally presented. His performance never feels forced and his Hamlet doesn't come off like a spoiled brat the way others have I've seen. His delivery of the Shakespearean dialog is never rushed and always eloquent. Finally, the emotions he brings to every scene is impressive right down to small moments (for example, the child-like way he looks upon his father's ghost). He's definitely the best Hamlet I've ever seen!

The rest of the cast is fantastic as well. It's fun to see Michael Caine in the role of Horatio, as it's the first time he's ever tackled Shakespeare on film. Not surprisingly, he gives the dialog a kind of naturalistic delivery. In other words, he's not delivering the lines poetically, but practically. It works quite well. His best scene is easily the finale, in which his Horatio breaks down emotionally. I don't think you'll find a more powerful Horatio than this one.

Robert Shaw was a huge surprise as Claudius. I knew he was a fine actor, but his prose is wonderfully delivered. Add to that his dynamic screen presence and you've got a truly magnificent Claudius. I mean, this is a role famously played by Derek Jacobi, Alan Bates and Patrick Stewart among many others. Yet Shaw may have surpassed them all (although I do love Jacobi's take).

I don't know much about June Tobin or Jo Maxwell Muller, but their performances as Gertrude and Ophelia respectively are quite perfect as well. Both are incredibly sympathetic and touching at times.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hamlet at last appears February 5, 2012
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I have waited over 40years to see this production and it didn't dissapoint. Christopher Plummer is mesmarising in the lead role, and Robert Shaw as Claudius is masterfull. This should be looked at by acting students or any students studying Shakespeare. His to be or not to be is filmed wonderfully and he speaks the words as if they have just come into his head. Plummer is so handsome here its no wonder he was chosen for Sound of Music, not that he needed his great acting skills for that, but it brought him to the attention of the world. The ladies in the cast dissapoint but don't be put off, its a wonderfull film even in black and white
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plummer is perhaps the best Hamlet September 18, 2013
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Finally purchased this after reading the reviews. I am glad I did as Plummer's performance is a tour de force. The man hits all the marks beautifully and masterfully. I have seen my share of Hamelts (Burton, Jacobi, Kline, Branagh, Tennett, Olivier, and, yes, Hawke) and Plummmer outshines them all - even my former favorite Derek Jacobi. Branagh is too mannered in the part. He is watching himself act. Olivier's is too cold-blooded. Kline was simply not convincing. Burton I loved and still do, thought he is not helped by a fairly mediocre supporting cast (other than Cronyn as Polonius). Jacobi is sublime, yet Plummer does not so much play Hamlet as wear him. With Plummer, the acting is not visible. The part fits him like a glove and he moves from mood to mood naturally. His line readings are superb. His "O what a rogue and peasant slave am I" soliloquy is awesome as his confrontation with Gertrude.
Robert Shaw, a terribly underrated actor who spent the sixties performing in Pinter as well as Shakespeare plays, is a worthy Claudius (though not as pitch perfect as Jacobi). It was a wonderful decision to have the character drunk while watching the play within the play.
And lo and behold, among all his many other talents Michael Caine can do Shakespeare. His Horatio is so good one wishes he would have tried his hand in other Shakespearean roles (Antonio in Merchant, Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, Cassius in Julius Caesar).
I hesitated for months before buying this. Don't do the same. If Shakespeare is your drug you owe it to yourself to see Plummer and company.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars From the VT or the telerecording?
Can anyone tell me if this DVD is from the original 625 line videotape master, mastered on 2 inch reel-to-reel videotape, or from the 35 mm film tele-recording of the original (a... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Monitor Production In Sound
4.0 out of 5 stars back home
great idea. Full of atmosphere, this is an impressive version of this unique play.Plummer is ok, but something is missed.
Published 10 months ago by Romeu França
5.0 out of 5 stars I am a Huge Plummer Fan
If you are too, you will not be disappointed. Great acting job. I was so impressed. A must add for your Plummer library.
Published 13 months ago by Finn Comfort Fan
4.0 out of 5 stars Performance
I have Hamlet with two of the greatest brits, Olivier and Branner on dvd and saw Ralph Finnes on broadway in the second row and
I'll tell you this, Christ Plummer was the best... Read more
Published 15 months ago by B. Phillips
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I waited for this on DVD for a long time. And I think that delay was part of the disappointment. When something goes unseen for decades it tends to build an urban legend around... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jim DiEugenio
1.0 out of 5 stars not everyboby liked it
After seeing all these rave reviews I just had to add my own opinion that Plummer does a laughable job as Hamlet. Shaw is good but the production as a whole is pretty bad. There.
Published 20 months ago by Henry Charles
5.0 out of 5 stars not the best hamlet but one of the best
This BBC telecast was filmed in 1964 before Plummer, Shaw, or Caine became the household names they would soon become. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Col William Russell
4.0 out of 5 stars Hamlet, at Elsinore
This was an excellent production, filmed on location, with fine performances from a cast experienced in doing Shakespeare. That it is in black and white is not really an issue. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Shot on location at Elsinore, Denmark.
Good production and not over acted. The pacing is just that; any faster or louder and you would have to strain to here the words. Read more
Published on March 17, 2012 by bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars A Prince
Christopher Plummer's Hamlet is so fine that it redeems a bad film and goes a long way towards redeeming Plummer's career. Read more
Published on January 30, 2012 by Charles Weinstein
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