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

2.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Brode gives vivid descriptions of the various movies that have been made of [Shakespeare's plays], weaving together the historical circumstances in which Shakespeare actually worked with a look at the circumstances in which the films were made- a Soviet Othello, for instance, or a King Lear by Jean-Luc Godard."--Publishers Weekly


About the Author


Douglas Brode is Professor of Film at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication, Syracuse University and the author of eighteen books, including Money, Women, and Guns: Crime Movies from Bonnie and Clyde to the Present, The Films of the Eighties, and From Walt to Woodstock: How Disney Created the Counter-Culture, (forthcoming from OUP).
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Product Details

  • Series: Literary Artist's Representatives
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 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: #3,437,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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 The review begins, "Briefly, this is so dreadfully bad a book that it, quite literally, ought to be withdrawn from publication" (18); the review amply substantiates this judgment in several thousand words quoting and describing the egregious errors in this book.
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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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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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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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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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