70mm 4 hours - Rated: HOT HOT HOT!
Make the effort! This is a wonderful film, and worth making a day of
it. There's an intermission after the first two hours or so, and you
get the chance to stretch your legs, and return refreshed for the
second half. It does not feel like 4 hours at all.
Why? Because not only is Hamlet a terrific play when done well, but
- it has lots of the best Shakespeare "quotes,"so you keep recognising
the bits you know
- Kenneth Branagh makes a great Hamlet: he looks great - svelte and
sexy. He has always been strong in making Shakespeare "conversational",
and funny (remember Much Ado About Nothing?)
- there are so many fabulous "name" actors sprinkled throughout, that
any time you begin to think about the time, another wonderful character
pops up to hold your interest. Standout performances by Julie Christie
as Gertrude, Robin Williams as Osric, Billy Crystal as the funniest
gravedigger I've ever seen, and a towering Charleton Heston as the
Player King. He tops them all.
- The film looks great. Instead of the usual damp and dank Elsinore, we
have a Georgian mansion. The costumes are velvety and braided, and very
tactile. Everyone looks terrific. And it is shot in 70mm format, in
widescreen, so the film fills your field of vision. It is easy to get
lost in it.
- Much of the action is filmed in a hall of mirrors, and it is
absolutely fascinating to try to work out how they did it without
filming the filmmakers and technicians. Branagh throws in a few 360
degree turn, just to show off
- It is a very moving play, and the film cherishes that aspect of the
play. It brought me to tears 4 times in the first half, and 3 times in
I have not seen the 2 hour version, but I'm considering seeing the 4
hour version again. It will be a pleasure. Oh and by the way, on the
day I saw the film a group of teenage schoolies sat behind me. My heart
sank. I thought they'd laugh and talk all the way through it. But after
the first 5 minutes they fell silent, and remained in rapt attention
for the whole 4 hours. QED.