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Shakespeare in the Movies: From the Silent Era to Shakespeare in Love (Literary Artist's Representatives) Hardcover – April 27, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Literary Artist's Representatives
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (April 27, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195139585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195139587
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,030,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This princely volume conveys the fun of both Shakespeare and film analysis. If contemporary cinema studies often prove as challenging as Elizabethan blank verse, prolific film writer Brode is accessible. He offers historical background, production details, information on critical response, and trenchant analysis. Even so, the depth of coverage varies widely. For example, Brode proclaims Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood (1957) and Ran (1985) to be the "greatest" variations of Macbeth and King Lear, yet he devotes less than two paragraphs to each. His commentary is usually more sustained, however, covering a variety of adaptationsAfrom famous works like Laurence Olivier's Richard III (1955) to controversial projects such as Baz Luhrman's MTV-inspired Romeo and Juliet (1995). If his treatment of early adaptations is lacking, Brode does a fine job of including later, tangential films like Forbidden Planet, a 1956 sf version of The Tempest. Shortcomings aside, all libraries should consider for purchase.ANeal Baker, Earlham Coll., Richmond, IN
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

A critical analysis of (almost) every American film based on a Shakespeare play. Brode (Cinema/Syracuse Univ.; The Films of Robert De Niro, not reviewed, etc.) here assesses everything from the acting of Marlon Brando (Marc Anthony in a 1953 Julius Caesar) and the directing of Orson Welles (Othello, 1952, and Macbeth, 1948) to the Shakespearean content of adaptations like West Side Story (1961). Brode organizes his narrative by individual plays (or linked groups of plays) rather than in chronological order, which means readers must wade through many pages about better-forgotten productions before arriving at the flicks we know and consider good Shakespeare. We learn that there was a 12-minute nickelodeon version of The Taming of the Shrew, and that Mack Sennetts famous Keystone Cops routines owe a debt to the scene with Petruchios servants in the first serious cinematic treatment of this play (1908). Like the original productions at the Globe Theatre, Shakespearean movies have always been popular, Brode points out. The Bards structure, involving many short scenes, is well suited for film, and apparitions like Hamlets ghost anticipated Hollywoods special effects. ``Old Will would have loved the movies,'' beamed Welles. For most productions, Brode cites critical reactions, including those of purists who didnt approve of filming the plays at all. Hes not shy with his own opinions either: a typically bold assessment is that ``[Sidney] Poitier cheated himself, and us, of an important work'' by not playing Othello. Sorry, Shakespeare in Love is too recent to be discussed here. From the Globe to the multiplex, this exhaustive study leaves no stone unturnedand theres the rub. A sizable fraction of Brodes study will be of interest only to film historians. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Read the review in the Spring 2000 issue of The Shakespeare Newsletter before purchasing this book. The review begins, "Briefly, this is so dreadfully bad a book that it, quite literally, ought to be withdrawn from publication" (18); the review amply substantiates this judgment in several thousand words quoting and describing the egregious errors in this book.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. Jensen on July 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is so bad, Amazon needs to come up with a NO STAR option. There are a stunning number of factual errors. Literally dozens, maybe into three digits. The author's grasp of the material is always superficial. I can't imagine a worse book on this subject. I know this sounds like hyperbole. It is not.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lance Wilcox on December 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This could have been such an interesting and informative book if only it had been written by someone with a real knowledge of Shakespeare. Brode rails against academics and their stranglehold on Shakespeare and is punished for his reverse snobbery by his ignorance. He seems to have studied Shakespeare at an English boy's school in the 1940s and casually skipped the last several decades' scholarship. This shows in his repeated attempts to tie individual plays in a simple-minded fashion to events in Shakespeare's life, claiming, for instance, that Shakespeare wrote "Othello" out of his feelings of jealousy regarding Anne Hathaway, a claim that has precisely nothing beyond Brode's own theatrical imagination to support it. He also repeatedly harps on Shakespeare's optimism even in his darkest plays, seeing them as unmediated revelations of the playwright's philosophy of life. He doesn't consider that Shakespeare as an artist might simply have been working within the conventions that govern tragedy as a genre. Few tragedies have ever ended in a vision of total nihilism; some sense of human dignity is almost always saved from the ruins. In effect, Brode is interpreting Shakespeare through the critical presuppositions of the Romantics rather than the Renaissance, reducing the plays to exercises in self-expression.

Brode reveals a stiff conservatism in what he accepts as legitimate film Shakespeare, generally trashing more experimental films, such as "Titus," on grounds that seem less aesthetic than merely crabby. On the one hand, he celebrates the film director's power to free Shakespeare from the stage to the screen with all its unique resources; on the other hand, he quickly gets prickly and sarcastic when directors push beyond a fairly staid presentation.
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By A Customer on July 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
One of the many disappointing things about this book is that it contains a lot of material about Orson Welles's work in the Shakespeare canon without mentioning that Welles didn't think the man whom the author calls "gentle Will" wrote the Shakespeare canon. Welles thought Edward de Vere wrote it, and is often quoted on that in "Oxfordian" literature, although not at any length. Does Welles's Oxfordian orienation come across in his film or stage adaptations? An interesting question, but there's no inkling of such things in this superficial treatment. The author's "gentle Will" has no resemblance to the historical William of Stratford, let alone to English literature's greatest poet, whoever that was.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chris Emily on January 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Unlike M Jenson, who get's his facts from a cereal box, Douglas Brode thoroughly researched Shakespeare's impact on cinema in this text. Always entertaining, Brode once again shows his vast knowledge of the subject at hand, providing commonly know facts with delicious little tidbits that the lay person may not know, but needs to know.
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