Recommendations wanted…

June 19, 2009 Ka'ela Ja'el
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One of the things I have been trying to do since (tentatively) retiring, is catch up on reading and movie watching.

My problem is, particularly with movies, there is so much that I haven’t watched that I don’t know where to start…I have a basic idea of the kind of movie I would like to see, but then I go to make a decision I get a little overwhelmed…

Take Shakespeare for instance. I read ‘The Complete Works’ works a million years ago when I was back in high school, but I don’t think I have ever really seen a movie (Apart from Baz Luhrmann’s R&J)…Now, I know there are numerous movie adaptations of Shakespeare’s works, and I would really like to watch some. The question is which ones?

So I throw the question out there…

Which movie adaptations do you think are the best?

Which do think are the most accurate?

Which is your favourite/s?

And in a few weeks I will probably recycle this post exactly and change Shakespeare to Austen or Bronte.

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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. angriest  |  June 19, 2009 at 1:29 am

    An immediate standout is Richard III, starring Ian McKellen. He wrote the screenplay himself, transported the setting to a 1930s fascist Britain, and it works brilliantly.
    The Kenneth Branagh-directed ones I really like. His Much Ado About Nothing is brilliant, and his Henry V is very good. Hamlet is less successful I think, but that’s mainly because I don’t really like his performance in the lead role. He has done two of the comedies as well, As You Like It and Love’s Labors Lost, but neither have ever been released in Australia.
    The Franco Zeffirelli-directed Hamlet starring Mel Gibson gets a lot of criticism and I’m not sure why. It’s the first Shakespeare I ever saw, so I have a lot of affection for it.
    Cinema Paradiso is screening Michael Radford’s The Merchant of Venice at the moment, starring Al Pacino. It’s actually five years old, but still very good.

    • 2. Ka'ela Ja'el  |  June 19, 2009 at 9:55 am

      Thanks! I was pretty sure you’d have good recommendations 🙂

  • 3. baby_elvis  |  June 19, 2009 at 1:56 am

    I second the Kenneth Branagh Henry V.
    The Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton Taming of the Shrew is lots of fun.
    Avoid the Polanski Macbeth if you don’t like blood and gore- lots of graphic violence.

    • 4. Ka'ela Ja'el  |  June 19, 2009 at 9:56 am

      Ta. Certainly not a gore fan…get icked pretty easily.
      But I think I will look out the Liz Taylor one – I always like watching her.

  • 5. editormum  |  June 19, 2009 at 2:09 am

    Agree the Much Ado About Nothing. I also liked the Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfieffer Midsummer Night’s Dream.
    Hee. Can’t go past Shakespeare in Love and 10 Things I Hate About You either 🙂

    • 6. Ka'ela Ja'el  |  June 19, 2009 at 9:54 am

      I forgot about having seen 10 Things!
      And I keep meaning to see Shakespeare in Love…must put it on my to watch list.

  • 7. stephen_dedman  |  June 19, 2009 at 3:52 am

    The BBC versions are among the most accurate: I loved their Hamlet (starring Derek Jacobi), Twelfth Night (Felicity Kendall), and As You Like It (Helen Mirren), and can also recommend their Taming of the Shrew (John Cleese), Tempest (Michael Hordern, with Warren Clarke as Caliban), and Merchant of Venice (Warren Mitchell as Shylock).
    Also liked the Branagh Hamlet and Henry V; the Olivier Henry V (though less keen on his others, where he seems to have cut every scene he isn’t in); the McKellen Richard III (though not completely satisfied by the ending); Polanski’s dark and very gruesome Macbeth; the Kevin Kline Midsummer Night’s Dream; and Lawrence Fishburne’s Othello.

    • 8. Ka'ela Ja'el  |  June 19, 2009 at 10:00 am

      Ooh…going to have to have a closer look at the BBC ones then. I really like some of the actors.
      Thanks.

      • 9. stephen_dedman  |  June 19, 2009 at 10:09 am

        I can also recommend this production of King Lear, with McKellen as Lear and Sylvester McCoy as the fool. Will have to buy the DVD when it comes out. There’s also a production of Macbeth starring McKellen, with Judy Dench as Lady Macbeth, available on video, but I haven’t yet seen it.
        The BBC Hamlet also has fan cred, starring Patrick Stewart as Claudius and Lalla Ward (Romana) as Ophelia.

  • 10. cassiphone  |  June 19, 2009 at 5:40 am

    Much Ado about Nothing, the Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson version!
    Though the recent BBC version with Damien Lewis and Sarah Parish was also brilliant.
    (actually all the recent BBC ones I saw were, espec. Midsummer Night’s Dream and Taming of the Shrew)

    • 11. Ka'ela Ja'el  |  June 19, 2009 at 10:01 am

      I think I am going to have to get the BBC ones and some of the Branagh ones too.

      • 12. baby_elvis  |  June 19, 2009 at 11:51 am

        Be careful that you don’t mix up the BBC adaptations with the BBC versions of the actual plays.


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