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Recommend good Shakespeare film adaptations?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Last night DH and I watched Baz Lurhmann's Romeo + Juliet, which I'd only seen once before, when I was clearly too callow to appreciate it. Anyway I loved it, and it reminded me that when I actually buckle down and watch Shakespeare I really enjoy it.

So. I've seen:

-Al Pacino's The Merchant of Venice, which is STUPENDOUS. I mean, mind-blowingly good.
-The Kenneth Branagh 4-hour Hamlet, which I liked... eventually... it took me a while to get into it, but I'm glad I persevered.
-A cheapo production of Antony and Cleopatra, which I suspect was done by the BBC. Loved the play, but wasn't too taken with the presentation.

Um. That's all I can think of. I've seen The Taming of the Shrew as a play, and Hamlet again, and maybe a few others - one of the twins/mistaken identities ones, which I realise doesn't narrow it down a lot!

Plus I enjoyed Shakespeare in Love; haven't seen 10 Things I Hate About You or She's the Man, though.

Any recommendations? Are there any good film versions of Macbeth? I've read it, but never seen it in any format.
post #2 of 22
I think the Branagh version of Much Ado About Nothing is enjoyable. It looks wonderful. Great scenery and mostly good acting and they look like they are having fun. There are a couple of odd casting choices, but overall it's a good version.

Another is Branagh's Henry V. I prefer it to the Laurence Olivier version, but you could watch both and compare yourself.

DS just watched the Ethan Hawke version of Hamlet because he's studying it in school. He dissed it. It's been years since I watched it, but I agreed with him, and we both agreed the Mel Gibson version was worse. He's at an arts school, so they reviewed a couple of versions.

I tried to watch Al Pacino's Looking for Richard, a documentary of sorts, where he shows scenes from Richard III along with scenes from rehearsals. Honestly, it put me to sleep and I never finished watching it. It has some good reviews though. If you are on a Richard III kick, you could read Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time for a different perspective of Richard.

As for Macbeth, I realized I don't think I've seen a film version. IMDb shows a bunch though, including a recent version set in modern Melbourne, Australia, and a 2010 U.K. version that hasn't been released yet.
post #3 of 22
you have go to see the old 1968 version of Romeo and Julliet by the Italian director Franco Zefferelli.
it is so beautiful!
post #4 of 22
Branagh's Henry V is fantastic. Also:

Polanski's Macbeth
The Marlon Brando Julius Caesar
The recent-ish version of A Midsummer Night's Dream with Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania
Laurence Fishburne Othello
post #5 of 22
Ian McKellan's Richard III and Branagh's Henry V. Two of my favourites.
post #6 of 22
Oh yeah, the McKellan Richard III is great.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jalilah View Post
you have go to see the old 1968 version of Romeo and Julliet by the Italian director Franco Zefferelli.
it is so beautiful!
A sentimental favorite of mine, too.
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jalilah View Post
you have go to see the old 1968 version of Romeo and Julliet by the Italian director Franco Zefferelli.
it is so beautiful!
It's funny, I saw that as a teen and was so swoony over it. When was teaching HS English I couldn't wait to show it to my class. But I showed the Baz Luhrmann version first because I thought they might like it, too. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it. And to my greater surprise, when I showed the Zeffirelli version, it seemed soooo sloooow.
post #9 of 22
the best ever, my all time favourite was the not too long ago titus andronicus. i came home after that movie and read the play that night.

its an AMAZING piece of cinematography. i wish you could watch it in a movie theater or at least projected. it is an amazing, amazing work of art.

Laurence Olivier has always been my particular favourite. I grew up with him being 'shakespeare'.
post #10 of 22
Have you seen the version of Hamlet where Mel Gibson plays Hamlet? (when Mel Gibson was much younger.) It is really good.
post #11 of 22
subbing.
post #12 of 22
I second Titus Andronicus, but if it's the version I am thinking of (starring Anthony Hopkins), be warned it is brutal and violent. there are images from that film that were so disturbing I still can't get them out of my head. But I still recommend it.
post #13 of 22
yes it is that version

i dont recall the violence at all. however all i remember was that it was a feast for the eyes and a lot will be lost watching it on tv or a computer.
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
We do have a projector - not super good quality, but it does make epics more exciting - especially after a childhood of watching videos on a ten-inch screen!

Is Titus Andronicus the one in which someone's daughter gets her hands and/or head chopped off?

Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll try to get hold of some of these! I don't think I've read Henry V (or most of the historical ones, really), so it'll be interesting to see that.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Is Titus Andronicus the one in which someone's daughter gets her hands and/or head chopped off?
yup. hands and tongue. so she cant reveal what she saw and endured.

i am not sure how that is shown in the film. or if it is.

if you enjoyed gladiator you would not enjoy this film.

but if you liked movies like red violin, pan's labryinth (ignoring its weak ending), 300 you will really enjoy this movie too.

oooh i am sooo envious of your projector.
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
As it happens, I couldn't see what everyone loved about Gladiator, and I did love 300 and Pan's Labyrinth (including the ending - what's wrong with the ending??). So maybe I should give it a go... sometime when DD's not around.

I love our projector too! It actually wasn't that expensive - a couple of hundred dollars second-hand, which is a lot less than you can pay for a decent-sized screen. DH flatted with a guy who had a SUPER $15,000 projector before we got married, and he just couldn't go back to watching stuff on the computer screen. And I figured that I have a degree in film, so I "earned" a decent-sized image for once. It does mean one of our living room walls is mysteriously blank, but I can live with that.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
and Pan's Labyrinth (including the ending - what's wrong with the ending??)..
oh PUHLEEEESE

drop of blood after all the complicated and unpredictable story lines was so so so predictable. that was my one imperfect moment in the movie.

and hey totally OT - since its v. rare i come across people who enjoy my kinda movies, watch Brad Pitt's Snatch if you havent already. i needed to watch it a few times - a couple to really get it - because of the language, but it was a great movie too. also lots of violence. but in a good way if you can call it that.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
Oh yeah, the McKellan Richard III is great.
Quote:
Branagh's Henry V.
I liked those. I haven't seen Titus Andronicus though.


I liked Pan's Labrynth, Snatch and 300. I worked in a comic shop for awhile and I am a bit of a Frank Miller fan.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
The recent-ish version of A Midsummer Night's Dream with Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania
That version has Kevin Kline in it as Bottom. I will watch anything with Kevin Kline in it.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
drop of blood after all the complicated and unpredictable story lines was so so so predictable. that was my one imperfect moment in the movie.
Come on... she DIED! How cool is that? Protagonist! Child! Died! I thought it was awesome.

I'm currently watching the David Tennant/Patrick Stewart version of Hamlet in dribs and drabs out of order on YouTube. I have mixed feelings about it, but it is interesting me greatly. David Tennant has a really good feel for the asides - you know, the "how nows" and "the very same"s and all the random interruptions peppered throughout Shakespeare. He puts a lot of snark and humour into them, and they don't seem forced.
post #20 of 22
Titus. As if it hasn't been mentioned enough. It's my favorite film, largely because the director is the closest to an artistic idol I have, but the acting was superb as well.

The same director also has an adaptation of The Tempest coming out I think this December ... the trailer is on YouTube if you want to check it out.

ETA: IIRC the version of Othello with Laurence Fishburne wasn't bad, but I haven't seen it since it came out, and I think I was about sixteen at the time, so don't hold me to that perception.
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