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Hamlet [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1948]

  • SKU: 4144964
  • Release Date: 09/19/2000
  • Rating: NR
Although criticized by Shakespeare devotees upon its release because of director, producer, and star Laurence Olivier's decision to excise large portions of the text, his cinematic version of Hamlet is widely considered the best out of several dozens (and counting). Hamlet (Olivier) is a medieval Danish prince who's still melancholy over the sudden death of his father and the quick, subsequent remarriage of his mother, Queen Gertrude (Eileen Herlie) to his uncle, Claudius (Basil Sydney). Informed by the ghost of his father that Claudius murdered him, Hamlet schemes to take revenge. Unsure how best to proceed, his delays and the horrible secret burdening him eventually lead to the violent snuffing out of several lives in both his family and that of courtier Polonius (Felix Aylmer), whose daughter Ophelia (Jean Simmons) is in love with Hamlet. Greatly influenced by the inventive camera work in Citizen Kane (1941) and by modern, psychological reinterpretations of Shakespeare's play, Olivier's masterpiece was the winner of four Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Actor (Olivier), Best Black and White Art Direction/Set Direction and Best Black and White Costume Design.
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    Overview

    Ratings & Reviews


    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (1 out of 1)

    Synopsis


    Hamlet
    Although criticized by Shakespeare devotees upon its release because of director, producer, and star Laurence Olivier's decision to excise large portions of the text, his cinematic version of Hamlet is widely considered the best out of several dozens (and counting). Hamlet (Olivier) is a medieval Danish prince who's still melancholy over the sudden death of his father and the quick, subsequent remarriage of his mother, Queen Gertrude (Eileen Herlie) to his uncle, Claudius (Basil Sydney). Informed by the ghost of his father that Claudius murdered him, Hamlet schemes to take revenge. Unsure how best to proceed, his delays and the horrible secret burdening him eventually lead to the violent snuffing out of several lives in both his family and that of courtier Polonius (Felix Aylmer), whose daughter Ophelia (Jean Simmons) is in love with Hamlet. Greatly influenced by the inventive camera work in Citizen Kane (1941) and by modern, psychological reinterpretations of Shakespeare's play, Olivier's masterpiece was the winner of four Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Actor (Olivier), Best Black and White Art Direction/Set Direction and Best Black and White Costume Design. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

    Cast & Crew


    • Laurence Olivier
      Laurence Olivier - Hamlet
    • Image coming soon
      Eileen Herlie - Gertrude
    • Basil Sydney
      Basil Sydney - Claudius
    • Image coming soon
      Norman Wooland - Horatio
    • Felix Aylmer
      Felix Aylmer - Polonius



    Customer rating

    Rating 5 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    100%
    would recommend to a friend
    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      A Masterpiece Of Filmmaking. Olivier's Greatest.

      Posted
      HAMLET

      Sir Laurence Olivier directs, produces, co-writes and stars in this critically acclaimed film version of William Shakespeare's greatest tragedy. For years, there have been countless interpretations of the Bard's sumptuous work of love, revenge, family loyalty and betrayal. Olivier does the Bard justice in this 2/1/2 hour masterpiece. While cutting some of Hamlet's soliloquies ("How all occasions do inform against me, and spur my dull revenge...," etc) and other famous lines ("O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown...," etc), completely eliminating Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Fortinbras, Cornelius and Voltimand, Olivier nevertheless retains the central aspect of the play: Hamlet and the darkness surrounding him after his father's death. Well-done. This film is an excellent alternative for those who find Kenneth Branagh's excellent 4 hour version too long. Personally, I think both are well-filmed interpretations. Skip Zeferelli's and enjoy the Masters Of Shakespeare: Sir Laurence Olivier & Kenneth Branagh.

      I would recommend this to a friend



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