Thursday, January 22, 2009

Olivier's Richard III: The Image of the Crown

Richard III. Dir. Laurence Olivier. Perf. Laurence Olivier and Sir John Gielgud. 1955. DVD. Criterion, 2004.

I've been having some trouble uploading some interesting clips, but that's no reason you should suffer without a dose of Shakespeare and Film.

Our class watched parts of Olivier's Richard III in class this week. In that film, the crown becomes the image par excellence. In the image above, Richard has walked directly in a line from a giant crown hanging from the ceiling toward the camera—until the crown appears to be on his own head. Here's a close-up of that image for better viewing:

It's none too subtle, but it's interesting. It's also interesting to see, in the earlier image, how unlikely Richard is to fit into the crown. In this image, it looks completely unobtainable:

The closer Richard is to the audience, the more fitting the crown seems to be.  That's metaphorical, but it turns out to be metaphorical on a number of different levels.

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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