Last year we’ve started on Edge and Back, a series of articles dedicated to movie adaptations of William Shakespeare’s plays. Today we’ve decided to treat you with something special – also bearing in mind that 450 years had passed since his birth. Whether you’ve been introduced to his works by movies or someone, somehow spoke about a sonnet or a character and your curiosity has been tickled, you’ve ended up catching up on who this man was and what did he write many centuries ago. There’s a legacy and ink has been spilled analyzing each and every word from his plays up to the sonnets and beyond. Here at Edge and Back, we’re taking a trip down memory lane and invite you see which are our favorite adaptations, which movies attacked a certain aspect of his life and work and what Shakespearean projects we’re looking forward to.
And so, without further gilding the lily and with no more ado, here is a our favorite 10 movie adaptations of William Shakespeare’s plays.
Directed by Julie Taymor and with Sir Anthony Hopkins as the fallen from grace Roman general, this play is set in world were the Roman Empire has survived and it’s a mix of Mussolini’s style and AU surroundings.
The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
Franco Zeffirelli brought together the beloved couple of the day, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the tale of Katharina and Petruchio and aven though Anthony and Cleopatra might have been their signature roles as a couple, we liked them more in this movie.
Baz Luhrmann wasn’t shy to bring the audience from the Italian Venice to the sandy shores of Venice, California in a modernized tale of two mobster like families, caught in a feud in which their children pay the ultimate price. With Dolce and Gabbana and Galliano attires, the cast and crew delivered a fresh piece for the younger audience.
Much ado about nothing (1993)
Sir Kenneth Branagh has unleashed in the late ’80 and early ’90 the Shakespeare wave of movie adaptations and here is “Much ado about nothing” starring an eclectic cast and became one of the Bard’s most successful screen adaptations.
Watching Sir Branagh take on the Machiavellian role of Othello became a dream turned into reality in 1995 and by George, he did the part justice. Malice and hatred, jealousy and rage, this became another success although not a financial one.
Sweet ’90s how we loved thee! Sir IanMcKellen revamps the tale of bloody Richard, the concept coming from the play directed by Richard Eyre. One will never forget the song “I’m Sitting On The Top Of The World” sang at the end of the movie or the perfect cast brought together by Richard Loncraine.
Ralph Fiennes made his directorial debut with a modern day alternate version of Rome which bears stricken resemblance to the Balkan region. “Coriolanus” was one of the Bard later works and we like to say one that hasn’t been given center stage as much as it deserves.
During the summer of 2012 in the mists of the London Olympic games and the last leg of the Avengers promotion tour, BBC hit the audience with a mini-series dubbed “The Hollow Crown” which delivered the plays Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V. By bringing forth young and accomplished actors like Tom Hiddleston and Ben Whishaw, the younger generations (re)discovered the plays and everyone was treated with a powerful series that will continue with a new season.
Henry V (1989)
Sir Kenneth Branagh decided to show exactly how talented he is by hitting on the mother of all plays and especially one that Sir Lawrence Olivier had given the ultimate performance. Branagh came, saw and delivered and one would want to see how this Shakespearean actor/director successor will be in the coming years. Maybe Tom Hiddleston.
Four uncut hours of flawless acting and a dear project of Sir Branagh turned into reality. I do recall that back in 1998 I’ve cut class, got home, turned on the TV and said to my mother ” I skipped home economics to come home and watch “Hamlet”. I’m not sorry.” I don’t regret to this day.
As Romanians, we saw various on stage adaptations of Shakespeare’s work and the one we enjoyed the most has been Tompa Gabor’s “Hamlet” with the late Adrian Pintea in the main role.
We’ve mentioned at the beginning of this article of various movies focused on Shakespeare’s life and work.
The meta-production of Richard III – Looking for Richard
The intriguing tale of “Anonymous”
As well as telling you about the new plays to come on the big screen:
Macbeth with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard
The Hollow Crown 2 ( Richard III with Benedict Cumberbatch and Henry VI)
Enemy of man – a Macbeth interpretation
Which is your favorite movie adaptation of a Shakespeare play?