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Shakespeare, The Movie: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV and Video 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415165853
ISBN-10: 0415165857
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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Something is rotten in this collection of essays on film treatments of Shakespeare's plays. Various circumstances--only glanced at here--have created a recent, sizable, and profitable multimedia Shakespearean revival in our midst: from Kenneth Branagh's glamorous epic efforts to cartoons to such maverick adaptations as My Own Private Idaho and Prospero's Books. Trying to grapple loosely with this trend, editors Boose and Burt, English professors at Dartmouth and the University of Massachusetts, respectively, present a wide cross- section of Anglo-American essays (including their own unremarkable contributions) drawn from all corners of current critical theory, from deconstructionism to feminist and queer theory. But whatever their ideological and critical underpinnings or their ostensible subjects, most of these essays are about nothing so much as ourselves. Perhaps it is a testament to his genius that every generation can find itself reflected perfectly in Shakespeare. And so, we have Barbara Hodgdon comparing Othello with the O.J. Simpson case in raising issues of race and gender; Katherine Eggert reading Bugsy as a remake of Antony and Cleopatra; Donald Hedrick detecting imperialist impulses in Branagh's Henry V; and so on. Most of the essayists are professors of English, yet their mastery of Shakespeare is usually not matched by their understanding of film and film theory. And despite a few game attempts at delineating the effects of Shakespeare's current filmic popularizations on his plays--most notably, Robert Hapgood's thoughts on Zeffirelli and Tony Howard's on King Lear--most of the contributors here prefer to pace endlessly about in the academic prisons of their thoughts. Some bright, particular stars can be found, but as Hotspur might proclaim: ``Such a deal of skimble-skamble stuff.'' -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"[T]hese essays help us understand how Shakespeare continues to live in the twentieth century, and they do it in a manner incomparably more interesting than the articles in the popular media that appear with nauseating regularity and ubiquity at the release of every new adaptation. Hogdon's piece, like so many of the essays in this collection at their best, combines deftly detailed observation of the filmtexts and an abundance of research into contemporary mass and popular culture (audience responses, interviews, press clippings) with keen readings of the plays and sophisticated reflection on the rhetoric of political discourses. [S]ome of the contributions to the volume simply offer a variety of well-researched cultural histories and thoughtful close readings of the filmtexts from which one can learn a great deal."
-"Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England
"Lynda Boose and Richard Burt have collected quality essays that examine filmed Shakespeare from a variety of perspectives. Many of the essays do excellent work in viewing filmed Shakespeare within the context of Hollywood and/or international film, demonstrating how Hollywood colors Shakespeare and how Shakespeare colors Hollywood."
-"Popular Culture and American Culture Associations, 1998
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (November 6, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415165857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415165853
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,683,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By S. Jacobson on December 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book contains a number of essays, some of which make interesting points, but many of which are so riddled by academic jargon as to be virtually unreadable. If you agree with the proposition "never use straightforward sentence structure or simple words when convoluted prose and multisyllabic jargon will do" you might enjoy this book more than i did. I completely agree with the accompanying review written by "A Customer".
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By A Customer on March 31, 1998
Format: Paperback
A close look at its title will reveal the kind of cultural synthesis "Shakespeare: the Movie" aims at: it is a book of essays about movie and TV adaptations of plays written by Shakespeare. Seems like a fascinating subject - after all, there is a constant cross-fertilization between movies and plays: Dustin Hoffman in "Death of a Salesman," or "The Lion King, Broadway Musical." (Although, as one essay claims in passing, "The Lion King does have a distinct flavor of Hamlet.") And Shakespeare drew many of his plots from old folk tales - so you can toss oral tradition into the pot. What would it mean to write a review of one of these hybrids? How much importance must you place on faithfulness to the original, and how much on a successful adaptation to the new form? The set of questions suggested by those three words might be the most concise moment in the book. Because unfortunately, when I turned the page, I was faced with the most sour stew of turgid prose that academia can produce. Favorite words include "narration," "discourse", "cultural," "explicitly," and "contextualization," for these words can usually be added to any phrase you want, so the sentence can march down the margin until it's half a page long, while saying very little. Mobile phones and intercoms, writes Richard Burt, "formulate the mediating power of Los Angeles as the contemporary site where high/low distinctions are engaged in endlessly resignifying themselves." The word "gender" is frequently verbed... A couple of essays, like "Shakespeare Wallah," offered a genuinely new take (and fresh language), but on the whole the book was all over the place and lacked coherence.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic coleciton ranging across a wide variety of Shakespeare films. If you are dumb enough to think that "gender" is not a verb (as in "to gender") and a noun as well as think that "verb" is a verb and a noun (as in "to verb"), this book will probably disappoint you. But if you have a good sense of the grammar of the English language, you'll love this book.
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Format: Paperback
THIS IS A LANDMARK COLLECTION OF BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN ESSAYS ON A VARIETY OF FILMED ADAPTATIONS OF SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS, INCLUDING THE RECENT HENRY V AND RICHARD III. IT IS ALREADY A LANDMARK IN THE FIELD AND HAS BECOME THE MOST WIDELY CITED BOOK ON SHAKESPEARE AND FILM. I HAVE ASSIGNED FOR SEVERAL COLLEGE COURSES. STUDENTS HAVE FOUND IT AN INVALUABLE RESOURCE. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. READERS OF THIS BOOK WILL ALSO WANT TO HAVE A LOOK AT BURT'S EXCELLENT BOOK, UNSPEAKABLE SHAXXXSPEARES.
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