Hamlet (Sir Kenneth Branagh), son of the King of Denmark (Brian Blessed), is summoned home for his father's funeral and his mother Gertrude's (Julie Christie's) wedding to his uncle Claudius (Sir Derek Jacobi). In a supernatural episode, he discovers that his uncle, who he hates anyway, murdered his father. In an incredibly convoluted plot, the most complicated and most interesting in all literature, he manages to (impossible to put this in exact order) feign (or perhaps not to feign) madness, murder the "Prime Minister", love and then unlove an innocent who he drives to madness, plot and then unplot against the uncle, direct a play within a play, successfully conspire against the lives of two well-meaning friends, and finally take his revenge on the uncle, but only at the cost of almost every life on-stage, including his own and his mother's.Written by
John Brosseau <email@example.com>
When Hamlet and Polonius are walking down a hallway discussing Hamlet's sanity, in one shot Hamlet is holding a skull mask, and in the next it's gone. See more »
Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
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The DVD & Blu-ray versions (released by Warner Bros.) do not have the Columbia torch lady logo featured at the beginning on the theatrical release and the version shown on cable TV as well as the ones released on VHS and LaserDisc. The film simply begins with the lighthouse Castle Rock logo. See more »
I enjoyed this film immensely when it came out, going to it five times while it was still in theatres. A much better way to spend an evening than watching the retread scifi thriller material out at the time.
I have to admit though that after seeing it again a few times on video it doesn't have the same attraction for me that it originally did. As film, it's solid. The settings are wonderful, and I admire the desire to produce the entire play unedited.
I don't enjoy the acting as much as I first did. In the case of Branagh, that may be merely a matter of personal taste. I would prefer a less garrulous Hamlet. Obviously, since all actors of Hamlet are working from the same script, unless edited, this is dependent entirely on the manner in which they portray the character. I find Branagh's performance a bit cloying, and far too over the top in some cases.
In addition, some of the cameos are distracting. Heston and Crystal I enjoy, but Williams, and particularly Lemmon, are annoying. The others, Attenborough et al, are fine.
While I can't give Hamlet a whole-hearted recommendation, I have to say that it far surpasses the trite commercialism of all the new "greatest films of all time" which have come out over the last few years. That's a phrase being used far too often now, revealing a lack of familiarity with the great films of the past. In that sense, I admire Mr. Branagh's desire to bring great drama to the screen, and hope that he meets with continued success in the future.
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