Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hamlet 1948 Olivier

This is a (thankfully) much abbreviated version. Even one of the two gravediggers has been excised. His opportunist pair of school chums have met the scissor, as has the Norwegian army on the march. The play within the play has been retained in remnant form. Olivier as Hamlet and the role of Gertrude (Eileen Herlie) are the best enacted. Even though heavy with stagy atmospherics, the film has the youthful energy of a young Olivier, and without comparisons to the "real" thing, stands on its own feet as an excellent drama-film. Even in brevity, Olivier brings us closer to the heart of "Hamlet". In comparison, the contemporary costumery of Branagh and the RSC version, seem anachronisms. Their attempted completeness and fidelity is also hard on the viewer. The present movie, particularly in pristine black and white of Blue Ray, is the best.

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