By Shakespeare, William; Anderegg, Michael; Shakespeare, William
Cinematic Shakespeare takes the reader contained in the making of a few major diversifications to demonstrate how cinema transforms and re-imagines the dramatic shape and magnificence principal to Shakespeare's imagination.
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Extra resources for Cinematic Shakespeare
No matter how deeply the text is cut, no matter how updated the setting, no matter how avant-garde the production, Shakespeare films (excepting silent or foreign-language films and films that do not foreground their Shakespearean origins) exhibit an almost mystical devotion to Shakespeare’s words—the language and diction of Elizabethan English, a language and diction at once poetic and theatrical. This may seem like a point too obvious to deserve comment, but a moment’s reflection will reveal that probably no other writer has had his or her words treated with a similar fidelity.
Is this a Shakespeare film? It would be easy to dismiss Der Kaufmann von Venedig as a travesty of The Merchant of Venice, but in any consideration of Shakespeare on film, or even of the theatrical history of Shakespeare’s plays, one can acknowledge the value of adaptation as interpretation, and one can be grateful for a 1920s German film that presented Shakespeare’s Shylock as an essentially tragic figure. There is little point in pretending that a Shakespeare film should be judged entirely apart from Shakespeare’s original; in practice, Shakespeare films are not simply adaptations of a Shakespeare play but are allusions to and commentaries on the play they adapt.
Anomalous material is less likely to make its presence felt in films adapted from plays, where the original shaping is generally much tighter, the scope narrower, and the characters fewer. A number of Shakespeare’s plays have something like the breadth and narrative complexity of a novel, particularly the histories, but the principle holds true for the most part. What most often creates anomalies and dissonances in a Shakespeare film is a failure on the part of the filmmaker to recognize the extent to which theme, character, and tone, as well as specific narrative elements, are all woven into the tapestry of Shakespeare’s text.
Cinematic Shakespeare by Shakespeare, William; Anderegg, Michael; Shakespeare, William