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Hamlet: (1996) Special Edition (Dbl DVD)]]>
It's the greatest work of literature, but nobody had ever filmed Hamlet uncut--until Kenneth Branagh went about the task for his lavish 1996 production. The result is a sumptuous, star-studded version that scores a palpable hit on its avowed goal: to make the text as clear and urgent as possible. Branagh himself plays the melancholy son of the Danish court, caught in a famous muddle about whether to seek revenge against his royal father's presumed slayer the man who now sits on the throne and shares the bed of Hamlet's mother. (Or, as the song "That's Entertainment" summarizes the plot: "A ghost and a prince meet / And everyone winds up mincemeat.") As a director, Branagh (who shot the movie in 70 mm.) uses the vast, cold interiors of a vaguely 19th-century manor to gorgeous effect; the story might scurry down this hallway, into that back chamber, or sprawl out into the enormous main room. With its endless collection of mirrors, the place is as big and empty as Citizen Kane's Xanadu.
That all works; what doesn't work is Branagh's tendency to over-direct the big dramatic moments. He indulges in quick cutting and flashbacks as though to fend off the audience's objections to the four-hour running time, and the style sometimes looks like wasted energy. The experienced Shakespearians in the cast come off nicely; Derek Jacobi's Claudius, Richard Briers' Polonius, and Michael Maloney's Laertes are just terrific. Julie Christie is a suitably attractive Gertrude, and Kate Winslet makes the most of Ophelia's mad scenes. Branagh's habit of folding in unexpected American performers is on the mark, too: Billy Crystal is surprisingly good as the Gravedigger, Robin Williams predictably camps up Osric, and Charlton Heston is an inspired choice as the grandiloquent Player King. The biggest irony here is that Branagh himself is not quite spot-on as Hamlet. Of course he speaks the lines beautifully, but Branagh's screen personality radiates certainty and clarity of vision; there's little of the doubt that might make him Hamlet-esque. Still, tremendous credit for fending off slings and arrows to get the movie made. --Robert Horton
This is absolutely the best version of Hamlet I've seen, and being an English teacher, I've seen quite a few. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Jacqueline boratyn
Excellent production. My favorite of all the versions of Hamlet on film. If you want the play on film spoken as Shakespeare wrote - get this one.Published 10 days ago by English teacher
I bought this for my history, music loving brother. It's apparently his favorite version.Published 19 days ago by Emily
It's long, but worth it. Very well done, especially with closed-captions on. I appreciate hearing/reading every word. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Cheryl McBay
I love this movie! I usually watch it with my book to follow along. Those four hours are worth it.Published 24 days ago by Meiosha Tomlinson
A truly great film - and a treat to be able to watch all 4 hours of it on line!Published 24 days ago by Jonathan Shailor
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|Best Screenplay nomination????||
Ebert's excellent answer: "A screenplay is something more than dialog. Consider, for example, that Alan Parker got a screenplay credit for "Evita," even though virtually every word in the movie was in the form of a Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber lyric. Screenplays also cover... Read More
Jan 22, 2008 by koko the talking gorilla | See all 6 posts
|No HD DVD/Blu-ray for now||
I have been waiting and sending letters and e-mails for a decade for the DVD of this Hamlet--so long, in fact, that the DVD medium itself has been surpassed! By the time a Blu-ray or HD version would arrive...
Sep 2, 2007 by Crabby Guy | See all 5 posts
|Any news on release date?||
According to kenbranagh.com,
February 27, 2007
A vigilant Hamlet fan caught this exciting chat that happened with Warner Bros. executives George Feltenstein,
George Parker, and Ronnee Sass last night on the Home Theater Forum.
chat. last night.
<DougH> YO - Any news on Branagh's... Read More
Apr 4, 2007 by Paul D. Schumacher | See all 4 posts
|Book On Blu-Ray Only?!!!||
Strange question. Maybe there is not enough of the question to give a proper answer.
However Blu-ray as been the de facto standard for years. It is no miracle drug and soon my in itself become obsolete. So if you are making a product what format would you use?
May 26, 2013 by bernie | See all 2 posts
|WHEN did this come to DVD???||
It's really no mystery. If you look at the info in the Amazon listing you'l see that the DVD was realeased in August 2007.
Apr 7, 2008 by Mark Hite | See all 2 posts
|Deleted Scene?||Be the first to reply|