Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Richard III and Black Adder

“The Foretelling.” By Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson. Perf. Rowan Atkinson, Brian Blessed, and Peter Cook. The Black Adder. Season 1, episode 1. BBC. 15 June 1983. DVD. 2 Entertain Video, 2009.

Burnett, Mark Thornton. “Parodying with Richard.” Shakespeare on Screen: Richard III. Ed. Sarah Hatchuel and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin. Ruon: Publications de l’Université de Rouen, 2005. 91-112.
Tempera, Mariangela. “Winters and Horses: References to Richard III on Film and Television.” Shakespeare on Screen: Richard III. Ed. Sarah Hatchuel and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin. Ruon: Publications de l’Université de Rouen, 2005. 65-89.

As strange as it may seem, I (a long-time fan of Monty Python and Mr. Bean) never got into Black Adder. And I'm still not into it—but two articles (listed above), each in a volume entitled Shakespeare on Screen: Richard III, mention its place in popular culture and write about its use of Richard III. Their alluding to the show was enough to bring me around to try it again.

The opening sequence is really quite marvelous. It presents a revisionist version of Richard III. Here, he's not a misshapen tyrant. No. Instead of a hump under his cloak, he carries a bag of toys! Instead of being hunched over—well, you'll see.

The most intriguing part of this clip is the mixing of lines from Richard III with some from Henry V in a revised version of the speech before the Battle of Bosworth Field.

Of course, the comic version of Richard III's calling for a horse is also brilliant. Oh, and the visual allusions to Olivier's Henry V (that's the same crown) were beautifully done.

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

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1 comment:

Mozy Online said...

It was impressive because some information was great. I've been looking forward for more details about Richard. Keep on posting!

--Janet "Mozy Code"

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