Saturday, April 07, 2007

Shakespeare at the Movies

From the Guardian Online I read an article titled The Bard on screen --
"Nearly 700 films and TV productions have taken their stories from Shakespeare, according to the Internet Movie Database - and the true figure may be much higher. The website does not distinguish between productions that keep the Bard's original texts, in English or in translation (Laurence Olivier's Henry V, Orson Welles's Othello, Grigori Kozintsev's Russian King Lear), and what are known as "genre adaptations" - westerns, gangster thrillers, melodramas, musicals, sci-fi, teen comedies and so on, which have abandoned Shakespeare's pentameters and settings, then customised his storylines and characters to fit their own conventions."

The article continues by summarizing the range and commercial success of both adaptations and original-text Shakespeare films, of which the most successful is Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet.

A book titled 100 Shakespeare Films, by Daniel Rosenthal, will be published by the British Film Institute on April 16 (not yet listed in -- but they list a previous book on Shakespeare films from 2001, see image at right).

I'm putting this book on my list: I would like to see more good Shakespeare films. For example, I'd like to re-view the Kurosawa films of Samurais as King Lear and MacBeth. Evidently I've barely scratched the surface!

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