lunes, 27 de julio de 2009

Laurence Olivier's Hamlet

Here is Laurence Olivier’s finest moment, not only taking the Bard’s greatest play into perfection, but taking acting and directing to a brand new level, at least when it came to this kind of genre. You all know the story: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, thanks to the ghost of his father, realizes his Uncle aka The New King and his mother have conspired to kill his father by poison. And so begins a descent into madness that will take down the entire kingdom of Denmark with him. Of course this is just a bare bones introduction to the story, as it is quite a complicated and psychological story.

And it’s all reflected in the cinematography and direction, a triumph to say the least. It’s dark and claustrophobic, grim as hell, almost like a film noir transplanted onto a medieval period piece. And some camera tricks are excellent as well, particularly the appearance of the ghostly King, as we can easily see the influence of Murnau, as you could imagine this creature appear in Faust or The Last Laugh. And while this is definitely Olivier’s show, there must be a special mention to the rest of the cast, as they are all good. Jean Simmons, who I had last seen in Black Narcissus as the little slut Kanchi, is very beautiful and sweet, and her descent into darkness is truly heartbreaking. Eileen Harley, Basil Sydney, Felix Aylmer (who later appeared in Hammer’s The Mummy!) and Norman Wooland are also great as well.

Many people have criticized this film because Olivier ‘dared’ to re-write Shakespeare. I’m talking about the exclusion of two of Hamlet’s most popular characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I’m afraid I have to disagree with all the haters, since I found their exclusion unimportant and didn’t miss them at all. I also liked that Olivier dared to make the character even more crazier, and with something of an Oedipal complex, making it more enthralling when he does get worse. In closing, a great film, a perfect film, and the best interpretation of the Bard that has been done yet.

By the way, look for Peter Cushing, horror’s greatest actor, in the role of Osric.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario