Hamlet (1948)
July 5, 2024 2:09 PM - Subscribe

Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor. June's pick for the Shakespeare Movie Club. Starring Lawrence Olivier, Eileen Herlie, Basil Sydney, Felix Aylmer, Jean Simmons, Norman Wooland and many others. Directed by Olivier and adapted to a short 2h34m by Olivier and Alan Dent.

From Rotten Tomatoes: A well-executed labor of love from star and director Laurence Olivier, Hamlet not only proved that Shakespeare could be successfully adapted to the big screen, it paved the way for further cinematic interpretations.

JustWatch link, widely available for free in a variety of formats.
Letterboxd for those who do.

Interesting Criterion essay because I couldn't find any suitable modern reviews.

One of many interpretations with a too-old Hamlet (see also Zeffirelli and Branagh's versions), a too-young Gertrude (only 13 years older) yet also great costumes.

Previously, but since it's part of a club I decided to repost it since last time was 9 years ago.
posted by fiercekitten (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I mention the length in the post because the editing is probably the most controversial thing about the movie. Well, that and the Freudian subtext. I'm flexible on editing when it comes to Shakespeare's plays. I always believed that the version printed was an idealized version, not an as performed version. The actual scripts used are lost to time and the quarto and folio versions don't always match. That's a whole thing. IYKYK.

I found Jean Simmons particularly moving, so called her out in the tags.

In high school drama class we compared the To Be and Not To Be speeches between this version and Mel Gibson's and at the time the class as a whole preferred Gibson's but now I'm not so sure.
posted by fiercekitten at 2:30 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]

Looking at the cast list on IMDb, John Gielgud, Christopher Lee, Desmond Llewelyn (Q), and Patrick Macnee are all listed as uncredited so you’ll have to look sharp to catch them. Although Gielgud’s role is pretty unmistakable.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:06 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]

Great film. It made everyone forget about Olivier's performance in 'The 49th Parallel' for a while.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 7:26 PM on July 6

…was it the French Canadian accent? I’d forgotten all about him by the time they reached Manitoba and Anton Walbrook’s speech.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:41 PM on July 7

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