A Conversation for William Shakespeare - Playwright

Shakespeare on Film...

Post 1

Oakes14

I'm currently doing research on film adaptations of the Bard's work, ranging from Branagh to Kurosawa and back again. It'd be somderful if yany of you'd be interested in contributing your views/ideas about this very deep subject.

Does Shakespeare disintegrate within the new medium?
How successful is film x at portraying Shakespeare's thematic and dramatic content?


etc...

Thanks.


Shakespeare on Film...

Post 2

Emily...overly fond of the ellipsis...and top ten lists...submit yours @ A87824361...

"Does Shakespeare disintegrate within the new medium?"

Absolutely not, if anything some adaptations seriously expand the way you look at Shakespeare. The things about moving from stage to screen is you have to think seriously, I know that Branagh's adaptation of Hamlet is a word perfect performance of Shakespeares play, but if anything it doesn't work on the screen, I dont' know anyone who's sat to the end of that film in one sitting, which is a serious shame. Whereas take Baz Lurman's adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, he took Shakespeares words and brought them into the 21st century - he even managed to get the American cast not to read the plays as verse which is a stunner - and he made this mad, fast, colourful movie that yeah, they change bits here and there, but it's more than sympathetic to the orginal. Even the Zeforelly (sp) version was just a play being filmed (not to say it's not brilliant) but Lurman managed to just give the play zing.

Shakespeare never gave us directions on how his plays should be performed, maybe because he thought the plays spoke for themselves, but never the less they are open to interpritation. My thing with it is, Shakespeare's dead, he left us his legacy, and yes we should perform them in the manner he would have, but we also need to stop making plays on film and make films on film. That's the beauty of the stage, it sucks you in, sometimes the plays on film just seem a bit flat.

"How successful is film x at portraying Shakespeare's thematic and dramatic content?"

I think it depends on the film, some just work others shouldn't have been touched.


Shakespeare on Film...

Post 3

Oakes14

My sentiments entirely - but what, if any, are your oppinions of films such as Akira Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood" or "Ran", interpretations of Macbeth and King Lear respectively. Neither have a single word of Shakespeare in them, nor are the Characters named the same. There is simply a link of plot.

What happens to Shakespeare if you change the language and setting and everything from the original text? Many have said it's the truest translation of Shakespeare's work, but many have said that it says alot more about Kurosawa and his culture rather than that of the Bard.

If this is the case, then why not Consider "West Side Story" or any other overhauls of Shakespeare in the same light.

Adaptation; at what point does Shakespeare stop being Shakespeare? It's true that much of Shakespeare's plot usage was ripped from classic texts by Plautus and Lilly - and yet we see Shakespeare as the greatest literary figure of all time - why don't we praise Kurosawa so highly?


Shakespeare on Film...

Post 4

Emily...overly fond of the ellipsis...and top ten lists...submit yours @ A87824361...

TO be honest, I haven't seen either interpretations but on the idea of plot links they can often work really well, take a complete teen film '10 Things I hate about You' it's an interpretation of The Taming of the Shrew, or 'Never Been Kissed' it's basically based on as you like it, the idea of hiding who you are etc...they work because they've taken just the idea of the play, they're not trying to be anything...and I know this is a ridiculous comparison but it's like Helen Fielding taking the plot from Pride and Prejudice and making Bridget Jones, it works because it's modern and up to date and people can associate even better with itsmiley - smiley

"What happens to Shakespeare if you change the language and setting and everything from the original text?"

Well as long as you're keeping the concept of the play it's not original yet it can be completely original.

"If this is the case, then why not Consider "West Side Story" or any other overhauls of Shakespeare in the same light."

Another truth, I hated West Side Story and I love Shakespeare and I love Musicals, but it just wasn't original, it was Romeo and Juliet to the letter except poorly done. But that's just my opinion.

"Adaptation; at what point does Shakespeare stop being Shakespeare? It's true that much of Shakespeare's plot usage was ripped from classic texts by Plautus and Lilly - and yet we see Shakespeare as the greatest literary figure of all time - why don't we praise Kurosawa so highly?" like I said I can't comment on Kurosawa, but the thing is, if you can take a story like shakespeare did, mordernise it and change it into something new and original - not necessarily better - the idea as in many things such as art etc you want to take someone elses idea, and transform it, you don't want to emulate or be someone else because you're never going to be that person you'll only ever be yourself.


Shakespeare on Film...

Post 5

Oakes14

You seen adament in the success of modernisations of Shakespeare, West Side Story aside, ones that disregard the verse structure of Shakespeare's original text and make it more accessible to the masses, or at least "teenage viewers"! Yes, I agree this can be successful, especially the more subtle approaches such as "My Own Private Idaho" - BUT - when you say WSS is simply R+J it raises the question of adpating Shakespeare to screen directly. What happens when one does turn Hamlet into a film and calling it "Hamlet", Branagh, Hawke and Gibson have all recently portrayed this role and they were not reworkings, just different directorial oppinions. If WSS is simply the original, which it isn't, shouldn't we see it as a director's adaptation? The point is why doesn't WSS work as a Shakespeare adaptation, for it is, I agree remarkably similar to R+J, but as with "10Things..." it is not Taming of the Shrew, or R+J, it does not pretend to be.


Shakespeare on Film...

Post 6

Emily...overly fond of the ellipsis...and top ten lists...submit yours @ A87824361...

i dunno, 10 things was only loosely supposed to be based around it, but I can't really comment on it, I haven't read the play.


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