Tuesday, August 17, 2010

William Shatner on William Shakespeare

Why Shakespeare? Dir. Lawrence Bridges. Perf. Jan Wieringa, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and William Shatner. 2004. DVD. NEA, 2004.

"Shakespeare, to me, is a little weird." —William Shatner

That's the most memorable quote from a less-than-memorable interview DVD. The premise of the film is interesting—let's interview a bunch of people about what Shakespeare means to them—but the execution of that premise is disappointing. The film is only slightly over twenty minutes long, and its organizational method isn't clear.

But it does spend about two minutes of time with William Shatner. His organizational method isn't any clearer than the DVD's, and he seems to think Shakespeare wrote in Old English "that we can barely understand."

[Editor's Note: Beowulf was written in Old English, The Canterbury Tales was written in Middle English, and Shakespeare wrote in Modern English. Pet peeve settled. Thank you.]

But, amongst the strange phrasing and layperson's terminology, Shatner is pointing valuably (and volubly) toward his sense of what is universal in Shakespeare:

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.
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.

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