Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Richard III and Black Adder

“The Foretelling.” By Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson. Perf. Rowan Atkinson, Brian Blessed, and Peter Cook. The Black Adder. Season 1, episode 1. BBC. 15 June 1983. DVD. 2 Entertain Video, 2009.
Burnett, Mark Thornton. “Parodying with Richard.” Shakespeare on Screen: Richard III. Ed. Sarah Hatchuel and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin. Ruon: Publications de l’Université de Rouen, 2005. 91-112.
Tempera, Mariangela. “Winters and Horses: References to Richard III on Film and Television.” Shakespeare on Screen: Richard III. Ed. Sarah Hatchuel and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin. Ruon: Publications de l’Université de Rouen, 2005. 65-89.

As strange as it may seem, I (a long-time fan of Monty Python and Mr. Bean) never got into Black Adder. And I'm still not into it—but two articles (listed above), each in a volume entitled Shakespeare on Screen: Richard III, mention its place in popular culture and write about its use of Richard III. Their alluding to the show was enough to bring me around to try it again.

The opening sequence is really quite marvelous. It presents a revisionist version of Richard III. Here, he's not a misshapen tyrant. No. Instead of a hump under his cloak, he carries a bag of toys! Instead of being hunched over—well, you'll see.

The most intriguing part of this clip is the mixing of lines from Richard III with some from Henry V in a revised version of the speech before the Battle of Bosworth Field.

video

Of course, the comic version of Richard III's calling for a horse is also brilliant. Oh, and the visual allusions to Olivier's Henry V (that's the same crown) were beautifully done.

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

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1 comment:

Mozy Online said...

It was impressive because some information was great. I've been looking forward for more details about Richard. Keep on posting!

--Janet "Mozy Code"

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).

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Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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