Shakespeare productions

I just posted this to my other blog on costume dramas, but thought I’d copy it here too as the two blogs mainly have different readerships… so apologies to the couple of people seeing it twice.   Shakespeare is on my mind at the moment as next month I’ll be going on holiday to the Cotswolds and visiting Stratford upon Avon – and seeing an RSC production of  The Winter’s Tale while  I’m there. I was supposed to see an open-air forest production of the same play last year but we couldn’t go as my husband had (suspected) swine flu, so it will be good to see it this year instead.:)

Anyway, I was just thinking it would be nice to watch some Shakespeare productions on film to get me in the mood before going and I’ll probably write (hopefully short) pieces about anything I watch. On my other blog I mentioned that I liked the recent RSC production of Hamlet starring David Tennant, but since this one is more geared to older movies I’ll mention here that I also love the classic version with Laurence Olivier. Does anyone have any other  older (or new) Shakespeare productions to recommend?

8 thoughts on “Shakespeare productions

  1. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Orson Welles’ versions of Othello or Macbeth but I have a soft spot for both of these. And the R2 Othello has some nice bonus features, not least the haunting and dreamy short Return to Glennascaul.


  2. Judy – I hope you enjoy the production of The Winter’s Tale. If you get a chance, you should check out the Globe Theatre’s production of ‘Macbeth’, it is terrific.

    As for Shakespeare on film, there are some fantastic options out there.

    Polanski’s Macbeth (1971) is a fine piece of film making…as is Kurosawa’s take on Macbeth, Throne of Blood. The latter is my favourite Shakespeare film adaptation; it emphasises the supernatural dimension of the play in a powerful manner.

    The bfi have a DVD called Silent Shakespeare which has the earliest takes on Shakespeare’s plays…it is great fun if you are a fan of silents.

    Branagh’s Henry V also deserves a mentions…I could go on and on!!


    • Thanks very much for the suggestions, Aman – I’ve seen the Silent Dickens DVD, so it would be interesting to see the Silent Shakespeare too, although the idea seems strange of the plays without the poetry – or without hearing the poetry.

      I’ve had a guided tour round the Globe, but haven’t actually seen a production there as yet, though it is definitely something I hope to do!


  3. Geez, how did I miss this post?

    Any one of the BBC’s massive Region 2 boxed collection of all Shakespeare’s plays would be a good starting point Judy (I’ve owned this set for years, though I have watched only about half of the titles) but there are a number of other essentials:

    Hamlet (Russian; Kozintsev)
    King Lear (Russian; Kozintsev)
    Chimes at Midnight (Welles)
    Ran (Kurosawa)
    Richard III (Livier)
    Henry V (Olivier)
    Henry V (Branagh)
    Hamlet (Olivier)
    Macbeth (Welles)
    Romeo and Juliet (Zeffirelli)
    Julius Caesar (Mankiewitz)
    Othello (Welles)
    A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Dieterle; Reinhardt)
    Macbeth (Polanski) noted above by Aman
    Throne of Blood (Kurosawa)
    Titus (Taymor)
    Prospero’s Books (Greenaway)
    William Shakespeare’s R & J (Luhrman)
    Taming of the Shrew (Zeffirelli)


    • This is quite a list, Sam! I have seen quite a lot of the BBC Shakespeares, but all a while ago now. Many thanks for giving me all these suggestions and recommendations – some of them I have seen but not all by a long chalk. Much appreciated.


    • I have seen both of these and love them both – Olivier is one of my favourite actors. I hope to see them both again before too long. Thanks again!


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