Friday, February 13, 2009

Shakespeare Retold (Retold)

Much Ado About Nothing. Shakespeare Retold. Dir. Brian Percival. Perf. Sarah Parish, Damian Lewis, and Billie Piper. 2005. DVD. BBC, 2007.

Note: This is a reposting of a very early blog entry. Actually, it's nearly a year old. Back then, I was publishing the blog through iWeb and forwarding those pages directly to the blogspot blog, so the formatting was often quite odd. Anyway, I just watched the film with my Shakespeare and Film students; therefore, I'm thinking about these issues; therefore, I wanted to repost them in a more readable format.

Note: Before reading this post, go watch the Shakespeare Retold version of Much Ado About Nothing. That adaptation changes Shakespeare’s plot substantially, and you really should see it to believe it . . . not read about it here. Thanks!

Our class had a lively discussion about the way the Shakespeare Retold series ended its Much Ado About Nothing. Part of the debate was over whether the play offers some hope—or, at least, some ambiguity—for Claude and Hero to get back together. Here’s a transcript (as best I could reproduce it) of the last conversation between the two of them that the film allows us to overhear:
Hero: What? Get married? To you? Never in a million years.

Claude: OK, maybe not in the short term. But . . . sometime in the future perhaps? Just say I can hope, Hero, please. Please.

[She looks at him, tosses her head, and stares at the horizon. Cut to the two of them in long shot walking toward us on the beach.]
Later, as Benedick and Beatrice are getting married, Hero gives Claude a look (see below). Is that look sufficiently charged with ambiguity to enable us to think that they will be getting married later on? Or is it just, as one student put it, “the bridesmaid look” that is nice but doesn’t mean much?

More on this topic later. It’s too interesting to leave like this! (Which may be just what Claude was thinking about Hero at this moment!)

Note:  As Ophelia sings, "Tomorrow is St. Valentine's day / All in  the morning betimes."  Come back for Bardfilm's Valentine's day post!

Links: The Film at IMDB.

Click below to purchase the entire Shakespeare Retold set
(of which this is only one out of four films)
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).


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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.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (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