His Infinite Variety
We return for a Sixth series of Paul Loosley’s Shakespeare on Film. And even after more than 30 movies we still haven’t run out of neat film adaptations of the Bard. And this season couldn’t be more varied if it tried. From black and white to sumptuously gorgeous colour. From obvious back-lot settings to magnificent locations. From classic Hollywood polish to rough and ready, shoot-from-the-hip realism. From familiar Shakespearean directors to untested new kids on the block. From huge productions to shoe-string budgets. From films one year old to films made 80 years ago. From actors predictable to actors unexpected. All in all proving once again that the Bard’s plays don’t just make exceeding good films, they are capable of almost infinite variety. Which is, of course, Shakespeare’s timeless genius.
Date & time: 12th February – 18th March @ 3pm
Venue: Indicine, klpac
Admission is free
12th Feb Julie Taymor’s The Tempest (2010)
One of the first films we showed was Julie Taymor’s Titus. Now she brings us an equally modern, equally eclectic take on one of Will’s final plays. Taymor takes her usual liberties by changing the vengeful, marooned wizard Prospero to a woman; Prospera; a small victory for women’s equality that works brilliantly and is played magnificently by one of the UK’s most prominent contemporary actors. Modern techniques, a surprising cast and a sumptuous visual treat. Starring Helen Mirren and Djimon Hounsou
19th Feb George Cukor’s Romeo and Juliet (1936)
At the time this was the most expensive movie MGM had ever made. Retaliating to Warner Bros recent Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cukor cast, some say disastrously, big, established movie stars. One of whom was the producer’s wife! No-one seemed to care that the two star-crossed lovers were quite a lot older than Will’s young teenagers. Yet against the usual amount of classic Hollywood pomp and swish they, and the whole film, are still a joy to watch. Starring Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard.
26th Feb John Farrell’s Richard the Second (2001)
Shot on video in an old fort in America. Often lit with just torches, this is the antithesis of Hollywood gloss. Unknown stars, unknown director and no money. Yet the power of the story remains, and one could even say enhanced, by its raw, as-it-happened feel. Never before seen on the screen, Shakespeare’s story of a confused, misguided and manipulated king is transformed into a modern day, underground film; the Bard for a digital age. Starring Kadina Delejalde and Matte Osian
4th March Stuart Burge’s Julius Caesar (1970)
Starring a chap you may have seen parting the Red Sea who, in coming to bury Caesar, uses a different kind of divine intervention to turn the mob against Caesar’s assassins. This Caesar takes a particularly long time to die and does spout an awful lot of blood, and all in vivid Technicolor too. As with the previous 1953 version the cast is a mixture of Americans and Brits – luckily we soon forget, as all manage to devour the scenery with equal enthusiasm. Starring Charlton Heston and John Gielgud.
11th March Orson Welles’ Macbeth (1948)
After the scandal of Citizen Kane, Welles was persona non-grata in Hollywood. No-one would give him any cash, especially to make his first film Shakespeare. So to save money he shot his version of the Scottish play on leftover sets from old cowboy movies and cast himself and friends to act alongside him. Despite all these restrictions, he still created a dark, brooding and frankly, scary tale of evil, murder and witchcraft; probably the only ‘Film Noir’ Shakespeare. Starring Orson Welles and Jeanette Nolan
18th March Franco Zeffireli’s Hamlet (1990)
Like Welles, Zeffirelli made three Shakespeare films. The other two were slick and bursting with Italian brio while this bit of Zeffirelli’s Shakespeare is bleak, cold and very Danish; crumbling bare Medieval castle rooms and walls which still grabbed an Oscar nomination for Art Direction. But it’s the cast that makes this rather special as it features an action hero as the prince, outraged and violent, and a screen seductress as his suspiciously affectionate mother. Starring Mel Gibson and Glen Close.Buy Ticket