|Formats:||U DVD, Blu-ray|
|Starring:||Norman Wooland, Basil Sydney, Peter Cushing, Eileen Herlie, Esmond Knight, Tony Tarver, Patrick Troughton, Russell Thorndike, Stanley Holloway, Laurence Olivier, Anthony Quayle, Jean Simmons, Christopher Lee, Harcourt Williams, John Laurie|
|Studio:||2 ENTERTAIN VIDEO|
|Collections:||Award Winners, Award Winners & Nominees, Best Picture Oscar Winners, Decades: 40s, Oscar Winners, Period Dramas, Shakespeare Adaptations|
|Run time:||2 hours 35 minutes|
|Rental release:||14 Apr 2003|
Most helpful review
Classic film of a Classic PlayBy a customer from Sussex , 01 Feb 2005
[Highly rated reviewer]This version is often called the best-acted Hamlet there ever was. Well, it's certainly a good one, and worth watching. Personally, I think the most powerful, best-acted, most complex version is that by and with Kenneth Branagh - but it's several hours long, so you may prefer this shorter version.
- Was this review helpful to you?
- (6) Yes |
- No (0)
Too fat or not too fat, that is the questionBy blackpolekev (247 reviews) from blackpole , 04 Jul 2012This had a special screening for one night only at a local cinema. It's a fine adaptation which won 4 Oscars including best actor for Laurence Olivier, who also directed the film.
The play in its entirety would probably run for nearly 4 hours but this version, at about 2 hours 30 mins, has inevitably suffered some cuts. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are not even mentioned and personally I think it is a shame that the 'hoist with his own petard' speech has been left out. All we get is 'there's letters sealed....' and that's it. Apart, obviously, from 'to be or not to be' and 'alas poor Yorick' it's surely the most well known speech in the play.
In an attempt to make it less stagy and more filmic, Olivier often utilizes long continuous shots in which the camera moves around the stage area and along corridors to mainly great effect. [If only today's film makers would take note: instead they seem intent on extreme close-ups and manic, headache-inducing editing, like 80s pop videos]. However there is a downside to this camera technique; maybe it has something to do with the camera angle but it tends to make everyone look slightly fat, in body and face, and this is very distracting. That aside, this is a very good film with great acting.
Still holds your attention after all this time.By GofWarks (60 reviews) from Radford Semele , 22 Jan 2012Once you got used to the style of English, I found that it held your interest very well. What I found surprising were the amount of expressions used which we still use today. Hamlet's character was very complex. Although he wanted justice for his assasinated father he was very blase about anyone that he harmed.
what happened to Rosencrantz and Guildernstern?By pppinchme (20 reviews) from London , 22 Dec 2011well I had to keep pausing this and didnt know if I would make it through till the end, seemed like a chore to sit through, maybe it seemed better in it's day, I cannot know, I love the Kenneth Brannagh and Mel Gibson versions, and I do love old time films too, just found it a bit of a drudge, Olivier came accross a bit too cool for school in it a bit for me as well
Olivier playing at HamletBy a customer , 15 May 2011Great in its time, but so over the top. Would be extravagant even on stage, but doesn't take any advantage of the subtler approach possible on film.
No blu-ray revelation but still great ShakespeareBy Noseyjoe (167 reviews) from London , 18 Feb 2010The blu-ray quality aside (don't expect a monochrome miracle), this probably remains one of the best and most accessible Hamlets. The cuts have been judicious and Olivier remains magnetic in the lead role. As ever with productions of this age, some of his supposedly butch henchmen have a tendency to simper and pout, but I suppose that was the idiom of the day. As the body count grows one recalls the Python sketch in which a diner's complaint about a single speck of dirt on a restaurant fork leads to suicidal mayhem, but twas ever thus with Shakespeare tragedies: 'Oh, you only meant I made you laugh when you said 'You kill me'... I thought you meant you WANTED me to kill you!' (oops, too late)