Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Return to Shakespeare in MST3K

“Hamlet.” By Joel Hodgson and Paul Chaplin. Perf. Kevin Murphy, Michael J. Nelson, Mary Jo Pehl, Bill Corbett, and Patrick Brantseg. Dir. Kevin Murphy. Mystery Science Theater 3000. Season 10, episode 9. Sci-Fi Channel. 27 June 1999. DVD. Rhino Theatrical, 2003.
During the course of my Literature of Humor class, I had cause to mention Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its Hamlet episode. I wasn't terribly impressed (for which, q.v.), but a student urged me to try it again. "It's brilliant," she insisted.

I still won't go that far, but I remember two parts that really are quite brilliant. One comes from the film itself—the closing title card (pictured above), which seems to insist—somewhat desperately—that the film we just saw really was Hamlet. Really!

The second is a one-word comment made by one of the film's viewers to accompany a gesture Hamlet makes. It's actually the funniest moment in the episode, and I'm sorry I didn't include it in my earlier "brilliant gems" clip:



That, at least, is brilliant.
Links: The Film at IMDB.

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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.
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