Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Julius Caesar in (Naturally Enough) The Emperor's Club

The Emperor's Club. Dir. Michael Hoffman. Perf. Kevin Kline and Emile Hirsch. 2002. DVD. Universal Studios, 2003.

The school year is beginning again, and all the books and articles I've read and all the films I've seen have created a tremendous backlog.

One film that falls generally into the category of "teacher attempts to use Shakespeare to reach troubled students" is The Emperor's Club.  Despite Kevin Kline's masterful performance, the film fell somewhat flat. The clip below has subtitles, which indicates that I watched it at three times the speed—and it seemed a little long at that.

Nonetheless, there's an interesting exchange related to Julius Caesar in the film. I've excerpted an obscenity in the middle of this exchange, but it's a student's attempt to critique Brutus' role in the assassination of Caesar—not in arguing that he ought not to have participated but in claiming that he didn't go far enough. It's an argument that the text itself invites us to contemplate, and this student, however disinterested in Shakespeare, has hit on a good question.  Observe:

video

Links: The Film at IMDB.


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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Book Note: Shakespeare's Stationers

Straznicky, Marta, ed. Shakespeare's Stationers: Studies in Cultural Bibliography. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.

Forgive the brevity of this post. I'm realizing more and more clearly that, if I don't jot down just a few notes on even the most important texts that I encounter very soon after I encounter them, I shall never jot down anything about them at all.

This collection of articles about the book trade of Shakespeare's day is marvelous and meticulous. Not every article will appeal to all readers, but I'm confident that there's something here for everyone.

I've been most moved by Kirk Melnikoff's "Nicholas Ling's Republican Hamlet (1603)" (95-111). It's encouraged me to return to a project I set out to accomplish many years ago: to read through Q1 of Hamlet—straight through, without reference to other editions of the play at all—in a facsimile. When the British Library revealed its astonishing on-line access to quartos of Shakespeare plays, I printed out Q1 of Hamlet with every intention of reading it through right away. Melnikoff's article has renewed that desire.

The entire volume serves to place William Shakespeare even more firmly in his cultural and historical context.

Click below to purchase the book from amazon.com
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Shakespeare in Arrested Development

“Bringing Up Buster.” By Mitchell Hurwitz and Richard Rosenstock. Perf. Justin Grant Wade, Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, and David Cross. Dir. Joe Russo. Arrested Development. Season 1, episode 3. Fox. 16 November 2003. DVD. Twentieth-Century Fox, 2013.

A great amount of fluster and flurry surrounded the recent release of a new fourth season of Arrested Development. Having missed most of the episodes of the show when it originally aired and feeling reluctant to be left out, I started catching up. Not far in, I found some good Shakespeare.

The plot is complicated. Those who know the show probably already know what's going on; those who don't are advised to read the Wikipedia article on the episode for more details.

In short, the high school is putting on a production of Much Ado About Nothing; various members of the family try out for it for various reasons. The father of one (and the uncle of the other) takes over as the show's director in order to meddle. I've excerpted the key scenes in the clip below.

video

Links: The Episode at Wikipedia.


Click below to purchase the first three seasons from amazon.com
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).

Monday, August 19, 2013

Book Note: Loving Will Shakespeare

Meyer, Carolyn. Loving Will Shakespeare. Orlando: Harcourt, 2006.

The story of Anne Hathaway's relationship with William Shakespeare is here transformed into a young adult novel. It begins with a letter from Will to Anne in 1611; he announces his intention to return to Stratford permanently. Anne, our narrator, then takes us back to the beginning of her life, traces it through to her falling for, sleeping with, and being wedded to William Shakespeare.

The book is on the sappy side of the spectrum, and I'm afraid I didn't overly enjoy its characterization of Anne, who seems to fall in love with, to attempt to elope with, or to become affianced to a new man in just about every other chapter.

Still, it's pretty strong on general historical accuracy (apart from its characterization). And it's a quick and easy read. If that's what you're looking for, you've found it.

Click below to purchase the book from amazon.com
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).

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 2008-2016 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest