When Thursday dawns it means that a new Thursday Movie picks is due, this week is adaptations of the works of some famous English playwright named William Shakespeare.
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In Britain, Shakespeare is always on the national curriculum, it’s quite easy to see why because his writing has been influential for almost 500 years. The majority of the teenagers don’t enjoy reading Shakespeare so much so that Edmund Blackadder went back in time and punched William Shakespeare in the face saying “that was for every schoolboy and schoolgirl for the next 400 years.”
In addition to getting punched, Shakespeare also gets kicked for “Ken Branagh four-hour uncut version of Hamlet”. Shakespeare didn’t know who Ken Branagh was so you do begin to question Branagh‘s devotion to the playwright. Anywho, in addition to Hamlet, Branagh also made Henry V (both 1940s films starred Laurence Olivier who Branagh played in My Week With Marilyn). I actually prefer Branagh’s version over the Olivier version.
One of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays is Coriolanus, a play which Ralph Fiennes took on in his directorial debut back in 2011. Like Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, Coriolanus retains Shakespeare’s original ye olde English dialogue but uses a modern setting for its film. It’s an appropriate play for tumultuous times.
Akira Kurosawa was a fan of Shakespeare; his 1957 film Throne of Blood was partly based on The Scottish Play whilst his 1985 film was in part inspired by King Lear. Even at the end of his career Kurosawa was able to produce great films (I even like Rhapsody in August and don’t buy into the film’s critics who say that it’s demanding an American apology for the atomic bombings of two Japanese cities) and Ran is among the best of the director’s works.