Hamlet (Branagh) - (Import DVD)
List Price R 74
Discovery Miles 640
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Marguerite, South Africa. 17 August 2014
This superb adaptation of Shakespeare's HAMLET attracted BAFTA & Oscar nominations in various technical categories, but none for acting. One has to ask, why? The cast is a stellar one with many of the biggest names in the acting world of the 1990s participating. Kenneth Branagh acts in the title role, directs and writes the screenplay (for which he received an Oscar nomination). He has chosen the late Victorian era as the period of the play and Blenheim Palace as the setting, although none of the interior scenes was filmed in the palace. The sets are magnificent, the costumes by BAFTA & Oscar nominated Alexandra Byrne are beautiful, and the music score by Oscar nominated Patrick Doyle is another bonus.
The question of Hamlet's sanity lies at the heart of the story. Branagh has chosen to play him as a sane man pretending to be insane (at least as far as certain characters are concerned). Obssessed with proving that his step-father Claudius (Derek Jacobi) has murdered his father (Brian Blessed), Hamlet turns on many of his friends and sends them to their deaths. Chief among these is Ophelia (Kate Winslet) whose gentle spirit is broken by Hamlet's cruelty to her when he realises that her father Polonius (Richard Briers) is using her against him. The love of the other woman in Hamlet's life, his mother Gertrude (Julie Christie) is never in question, but was the murder of Hamlet Snr. not possibly her idea in the first place? There are so many other notable actors and actresses in this film that it would be impossible to assess the merits or demerits of each one's performance. Suffice it to say that I did not like the flat American accents mixed in with the rounded British vowels, and Robin Williams's performance as the foppish, hat-brandishing Osric (an essentiually comic role)was equally flat. Nevertheless this is a fine addition to the Shakespeare afficianado's collection, and a particularly fine version for study purposes.
Region 2 - Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories.