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Tony Grist

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Olivier's Hamlet [May. 21st, 2007|09:12 am]
Tony Grist
Elsinore from the air looks like the surface of the human brain- a labyrinth of dead ends. 

The royal bed with its splayed curtains is so blatant an image of the vagina you wonder the censors didn't ask for  cuts.

Every time the king takes a drink the kettledrums rumble, the trumpets blare and the guns shoot- as if the sickened kingdom were belching.

Only through the window and door of Ophelia's room do you get a glimpse of summer.

Who is Hamlet?  Hamlet is the  steady flame of self awareness. He is thought itself- coiled up, self-consuming, breaking free in sudden, leonine bursts of action. 

"Remember me"- the universal plaint. When the corpses have been cleared away and the castle is empty and silent Ophelia's sprig of rosemary remains where she placed it,  lying- overlooked- on the arm of an empty chair.  
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: momof2girls
2007-05-21 11:19 am (UTC)
I haven't watched this movie since high school. I think I need to watch it again!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-05-21 11:57 am (UTC)
I hadn't watched it in ages and wasn't sure I was going to like it.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2007-05-21 03:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, gosh. Do I have that on DVD? My tape player is broken.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-05-21 04:15 pm (UTC)
It's certainly available on DVD- I have it as one half of a boxed "Olivier double-bill" along with Henry V.
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From: senordildo
2007-05-21 10:04 pm (UTC)
In the US, it's available on a Criterion Collection DVD, and has been packaged in the "Olivier's Shakespeare" boxset. Those were some wonderful observations by the way. Olivier's Hamlet nowadays seems to be the most knocked of his Shakespeare films, so I was happy to read your post.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-05-22 08:17 am (UTC)
The text is cut to the bone and Olivier is (arguably) rather too old for the role- but it totally works as a film.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2007-05-21 07:03 pm (UTC)
I'm very sorry I missed this when it was on TCM. I will have to be on the lookout for it again.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-05-21 08:57 pm (UTC)
It'll be back.
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