Monday, August 16, 2010

Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet on Blu-Ray

Hamlet. Dir. Kenneth Branagh. Perf. Kenneth Branagh, Kate Winslet, Richard Attenborough, Brian Blessed, Richard Briers, Julie Christie, Billy Crystal, Judi Dench, Gérard Depardieu, Reece Dinsdale, Ken Dodd, Nicholas Farrell, John Gielgud, Rosemary Harris, Charlton Heston, Derek Jacobi, Jack Lemmon, Ian McElhinney, Michael Maloney, Simon Russell Beale, Rufus Sewell, Timothy Spall, Ben Thom, and Robin Williams. 1996. DVD [Blu-Ray]. Castle Rock, 2010.
Kenneth Branagh's majestic Hamlet was released to theatres in 1996. The videocassette and Laser Disc versions came not long thereafter. The two-disc DVD came out in 2007. Tomorrow, you can own it on Blu-Ray.

The good people at Warner Bros. sent me an advance copy to review. The book is gorgeous and extremely well-designed. In the trivia section, I learned that this production marks the first time Jack Lemmon (Marcellus) had ever played a Shakespearean role!

Here's a brief clip of an interview with Branagh:


I have not yet had a chance to view the material on the disc itself—Bardfilm has no Blu-ray player but had naïvely assumed that the disc would play in any relatively-new computer!—but I wanted to get the word out about this release. I'll provide a more extensive review of the particulars of the Blu-Ray edition when I'm able to view them. In the meantime, you can be assured that the production itself is lavish and extravagant and amazing (which isn't to say that I agree with everything in the production—Jack Lemmon's first Shakespearean role could have been better acted, for example).

But whatever media brings the original experience of seeing this film in its full 70mm grandeur closer is to be admired. And Warner Bros. is to be commended for releasing the disc in this format.
Links: The Film at IMDB. Get the inside scoop on WB movie & DVD releases. Check out the official site.

Click below to get the film on Blue-ray from amazon.com
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).


1 comment:

Duane said...

I was unable to review when they asked (I have no Blu-ray player), but I did swing a couple of copies to giveaway:

http://blog.shakespearegeek.com/2010/08/hes-here-branaghs-hamlet-blu-ray.html

Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2012 by Keith Jones.

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