Hamlet (1948) feeds on the murder/revenge/consequences aspect to create a beautifully shot, noir inspired version.
Gamlet (1964) is a Russian interpretation that is very desolate and contemplative compared to the others. The film opens with long shots of desolate countryside and seaside images, and during his key monologues on mortality, Hamlet goes into these empty expanses to speak his thoughts to the air. This version is nicely atmospheric and emphasizes the mortality aspect more than the others.
Hamlet (1969) is not overly interesting to look at —it is little more than a filmed stage play— however, it contains my favorite performance in the part of Hamlet. Nicol Williamson gives a playfully manic Hamlet, who never seems to cross the line from pretending to actually going mad. This playfulness makes him seem more intelligent than anyone else, so much so that he knows he is in a film and addresses the viewer through the fourth wall often.
Hamlet (1990) (according to Gibson and the director) was intended to make Shakespeare more accessible by emphasizing the emotional aspects of the story to get a visceral response from the viewer. Many parts were cut, the most notable being the humor. Often a joke is set up and the punch line is never delivered so that the scene can be mired in the same single emotion (someone missed the point).
Hamlet (1996) combines all available sources to give the most complete Hamlet on screen. The sets and cast are as lavish and sprawling as the word count and it is a wonderful epic if you have the time. This is the most cinematic and visually exciting version.
Hamlet (2000) updates the tale and places it in high rise business buildings of the common era. There are many refreshing updates of Hamlet staples (such as The Mousetrap play being turned into a movie collage), but again it suffers from omission of famous scenes and knocks itself out of the running for a serious adaptation.
Hamlet (2009) is a BBC production that again places Hamlet in the common era, but the setting is not so disparate as to be off-putting. Tennant’s mania creates my second favorite performance of the title role.
Now Francisco and Bernardo, they was guardin’ the castle, Leanin’ on their spears, not lookin’ for no hassle, Havin’ themselves a brew or two, When out in the night they hear wooo-wooo-wooo. And here comes this ghost, lookin’ ragged and rank, In a rusty suit of armor, goin’ clank, clank, clank. They say, “Hey, Mr. Ghost, are you our dear departed king?” But the ghost don’t say one motherfuckin’ thing. He goes, “Wooo-wooo-wooo.” They say, “Hey, we better split, And go tell Hamlet about this shit.”
So they run find Hamlet, they say, “Hey, sweet Prince, Your daddy’s ghost been seen runnin’ hither and hince. He’s all full of maggots and he’s grizzly and grim, Somethin’s rotten in Denmark and-whew-we think it’s him.” Hamlet says, “Oh, are you sure it’s my pop? Did he have matty gray hair with a bald spot on top? Did he have bright blue eyes that never know fear And a tattoo says GERTRUDE FOREVER right here?”
They say, “Hey, the thing just flittered by our station, We didn’t give him no physical examination. And we don’t know for sure if your daddy was the one, But we do know a motherfuckin’ ghost when we see one.” Hamlet says, “Show me where you spied this spectral klunk So I see if it’s my pop, or if you was both drunk.” So they bring ol’ Hamlet to the spot, and then They wait five minutes and woooooo- Here he comes again. He got gray skin, black teeth and hollow eyes, Beckonin’ like this-young Hamlet cries, “Hold, spirit of darkness, are you a ghostly apparition?” “No,” says the ghost, “I look like this from malnutrition. Of course I’m a ghost, but son, don’t be scared, And I’ll tell you some shit that’ll fry your hair.”
HAMLET: Now, mother, what’s the matter? GERTRUDE: Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended. HAMLET: Mother, you have my father much offended. GERTRUDE: Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue. HAMLET: Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
I love they play on pronouns, the affectionate thou and the impersonal you.
Also, I’m happy to see Polonius gotten rid of, I’m not exactly his fan. And I love Hamlet’s casual “Good night, mother” and excuse me I need to deal with this dead body now at the end of the scene.
(And okay, just for the record: Every step you take, every move you make, I’ll be watching you No, I mean, I’m not some creeper who stalks what people who follow this blog do, I just track the hamlet tag.)
30 Days of Hamlet
1. If a line was going to be tattooed on your body, which one would it be?
2. Your favorite scene
3. Which characters’ death would you most and least like to die by?
4. Who would you choose to fuck, who to marry, and who to kill?
5. Your favorite adaptation
6. If you could end the play differently, [how] would you?
7. The most unnecessary or annoying scene
8. Your favorite relationship
9. Your interpretation of the nunnery scene
10. Is Hamlet really crazy?
11. A picture of your favorite actor/actress’ rendition of Hamlet
12. The character you most relate to
13. The top thing you hate when people misunderstand
14. Your favorite character flaw
15. The best Polonius snub or other insult
16. The worst adaptation?
17. An aspect you don’t entirely understand
18. Is Claudius remorseful?
19. Why you love/how you feel about the play?
20. Your dream cast
21. How did you discover Hamlet?
22. A character’s action you would change, just to see how things would turn out differently
23. Your other lines that were runners up for favorite
24. Thoughts on Ophelia?
25. The most underrated character, scene, or dialogue
26. If you were a director, what would your production look like?
27. The most tragic aspect or moment of the play
28. If you could add a scene to fill in a gap, what would it be?
29. Your favorite theme in the story
30. A question you wish had been on this list, and your answer
Thank you, looks like fun.
Anyone who wants to join in at any point: You know where the submit button is. (A couple of people have told me that sometimes the submit isn’t working for some reason, so if you have problems with that you can leave your thoughts in the ask as well.)
If there are only few answers I’ll publish them as they are, but if the amount gets overwhelming I’ll gather them into one post. Don’t want clog up your dashes.
Sounds like a plan?
So, Day 1
If a line was going to be tattooed on your body, which one would it be?