Thursday, February 16, 2017
Thursday Movie Picks: William Shakespeare Film Adaptations
For the third week of February 2017 of the Thursday Movie Picks hosted by Wanderer of Wandering Through the Shelves. We turn to William Shakespeare and the many film adaptations of his body of work. There have been many versions of his stories adapted into film as picking three itself would be tough as there’s so many.
1. Macbeth-1948 film - Throne of Blood - 1971 film
The story of ambition and betrayal set in the Scottish highlands is definitely one of Shakespeare’s most celebrated stories as it’s been adapted time and time again. Yet, two of its film adaptations are told in a traditional fashion but with different ideas by two cinematic masters. The 1948 version by Orson Welles is definitely more theatrical in terms of its setting and mood while the 1971 version by Roman Polanski is definitely more cinematic visually while not being afraid to be graphic in its approach to sex and violence. The best of those three adaptations is from Akira Kurosawa whose adaptation in Throne of Blood definitely takes it to new heights not just in its visuals but also translating the story into feudal-period Japan with Toshiro Mifune in one of his best roles as the film’s climax remains one of the most intense moments in film.
2. Romeo & Juliet-1968 film - William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet - Warm Bodies
Easily the most popular adaptation of Shakespeare’s work about two kids from feuding families who fall in love with other and tragedy ensues. Another story that spawned numerous adaptations, there are so many to choose one as it’s hard to say which is the most definitive. Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film version is definitely the most traditional in its narrative but the music of Nino Rota as well as the visuals and Laurence Olivier’s narration makes it a very faithful adaptation. The 1996 version by Baz Luhrmann that stars Leonardo diCaprio and Claire Danes definitely uses Shakespeare’s language but it is given a modern-day setting that is very lively and filled with gorgeous visuals. The third and most unconventional picks of the three in Warm Bodies sets in a post-zombie apocalypse where a zombie falls for a young woman despite the conflicts between humans and zombies. It is definitely very funny but also give Shakespeare’s tale a new twist.
3. Othello-1951 film - 1995 film
While there are many adaptations of this tale of a Moorish general who is deceived by his captain claiming that his beloved is having an affair. Much of it often features white men in blackface playing the titular character with the most famous was Laurence Olivier in a 1965 film version. The 1951 version by Orson Welles which also has him playing the titular role is definitely very stylish in terms of its usage of slanted camera angles and improvised tone. It’s a messy film but certainly intriguing while the 1995 film version by Oliver Parker starring Laurence Fishburne in the titular role is probably the most faithful. Especially as it has Fishburne playing the character the way it’s meant to be played though he’s not the first African-American actor to play that role. With Kenneth Branagh, Michael Sheen, and Irene Jacob in key roles, the 1995 is definitely the more traditionally-based version of the story but it is certainly a film to seek out as it is a very underrated film.
© thevoid99 2017