Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hamlet (1990)

Franco Zeffirelli's 1990 Hamlet stars Mel Gibson as Hamlet, Glenn Close as Gertrude, Ian Holm as Polonius and Helena Bonham Carter as a touching Ophelia. Shakespeare plays are cut so much to turn them into movies that it's hard not to find fault with the cuts (there is a review here which details some of the editorial changes), but I liked this Hamlet.

We enjoyed Zeffirelli's Brother Sun Sister Moon and have his Romeo and Juliet waiting in the stack to be watched.


Here's the scene where he first sees his father's ghost. (Youtube link)

a scene with Ian Holm -Polonius' Advice to Laertes:

The Washington Post complains about the cuts. Rolling Stone concludes, "Olivier's Oscar-winning 1948 version remains the definitive screen Hamlet. The rest is silence. Or should have been."

Roger Ebert gives it 3.5 out of 4 stars and concludes,
We never feel, as we do sometimes with other productions, that events happen arbitrarily. Zeffirelli’s great contribution in "popularizing" the play has been to make it clear to the audience why events are unfolding as they are.

This "Hamlet" finally stands or falls on Mel Gibson’s performance, and I think it will surprise some viewers with its strength and appeal. He has not been overawed by Shakespeare, has not fallen into a trap of taking this role too solemnly and lugubriously. He has observed the young man of the earlier and less troubled scenes, and started his performance from there, instead of letting every nuance be a foreshadow of what is to come. It’s a strong, intelligent performance, filled with life, and it makes this into a surprisingly robust "Hamlet."
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 76%.

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