Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film

The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film, edited by Russell Jackson. Second Edition.  2010. Read in October and November 2011.

                      Having read several books about Shakespeare on film this one doesn’t have so much new to offer but it’s still an interesting read and recommended especially to those of you who haven’t started exploring the subject.
It starts with a chapter on how the plays have been and can be adapted to the screen and goes on to deal with the more modern use of video and DVDs.  There is a chapter on the importance of the various films of Richard III, especially Ian McKellen’s portrayal. It goes on to do the same with Hamlet.
Part Two starts with a chapter on the comedies and one on the history plays. Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear have a chapter together as do the love tragedies.
Part Three focuses in several chapters on the directing efforts of Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles, Gregor Kozintsev, Franco Zeffirelli and the “flamboyant realist” Kenneth Branagh. I especially enjoyed that one.
The final part deals with the issue of gender, national and racial stereotypes and filming the supernatural.
At the end there are lists of films and offshoots which are handy for reference.
Just paging through the book to write this, I realise that I want to read the book again!

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