Tuesday, January 31, 2012

FoxTrot Presents . . . The Cliffs Cliffs Notes on Hamlet

Amend, Bill. FoxTrot. Exact details of publication uncertain. See the official FoxTrot website listed below.
All the talk about modernized versions of Shakespeare's plays and Cliffs Notes versions and Video Derivative versions of Cliffs Notes versions has reminded me of an important fact:






Peter and Paige discuss "Cliffs Cliffs Notes" (click on the image to enlarge it):

Links: Foxtrot's Official Site.

Merchant of Venice in Third Rock from the Sun

“Hotel Dick.” By Bonnie Turner and Terry Turner. Perf. John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, French Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and George Takei. Dir. Robert Berlinger. 3rd Rock from the Sun. Season 2, episode 13. NBC. 29 September 1996. DVD. Mill Creek Entertainment, 2011.

Very briefly, here is one last Shakespeare allusion in 3rd Rock from the sun—once again provided by avid Bardfilm reader and Twitter user @GtThee2ANunnery.

In this episode, the aliens confront human prejudices against them, delivering a riff on Shylock's "Hath not a Jew hands?" speech. Of additional interest is its delivery to George Takei—Mr. Sulu of Star Trek fame, brining to mind Data's use of the same speech in a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode (for which, q.v.).

In any case, here it is!

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

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


Monday, January 30, 2012

Shakespeare in Love on Blu-Ray: Enter to Win

Shakespeare in Love. Dir. John Madden. Perf. Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Judi Dench, Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Tom Wilkinson. 1998. Blu-ray. Miramax Lionsgate, 2012.

On Tuesday, January 31, 2012 (for those of you reading this on January 30, 2012, that's tomorrow), Shakespeare in Love will be released on Blu-Ray. And, thanks to the kindness of Miramax Lionsgate and Click Communications, I have three copies to give away to Bardfilm's readers.

First, though, here's a brief scene from the film:

And here are the details of the competition:
  1. To be eligible for the drawing, you must submit a comment to this post. Your comment should contain an idea for another film along similar lines. Would you like to see Donne in Love? Shakespeare in Anger? Queen Elizabeth I in a Mild Snit? Suggest a title below!

  2. Comments must be posted before 11:59 p.m. Central Time on Friday, February 3, 2012 in order to be eligible for the competition.

  3. Shipping addresses must be within the United States and Canada. I apologize to readers from other countries, but those are the rules! These will be shipped directly from Click Communictions and not from Bardfilm this time. Thank you for your understanding.

  4. One submission per person, please!

  5. My decision is final.

  6. Each winner must provide a shipping address by Friday, February 10, 2012. I'll froward the address along to Click Communications, and they will be responsible for shipping the film.

  7. I reserve the right to add to this list of rules.
I'm eager to see what your titles are! I'll put all the names in a hat—either a literal or an electronic one—over the weekend, determine the winners, and announce the outcome on Monday, February 6, 2012.

Note: The winners have been announced!

Links: The Film at IMDB.
Click below to purchase the film from amazon.com
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Titus Andronicus in Theater of Blood

Theatre of Blood. Dir. Douglas Hickox. Perf. Vincent Price and Diana Rigg. 1973. DVD. MGM, 2001.

While working on an article that deals with film versions of Titus Andronicus, I remembered Vincent Price's Theater of Blood. I first saw the film when I was in eighth or ninth grade. It was broadcast as a Saturday Morning Film on KPLR-TV (Channel 11) in St. Louis, and what they were doing screening this film I'll never be able to figure out. But the happiest outcome for me was that it introduced me to Titus Andronicus. Before seeing the film, I had no idea that the play existed.

I don't want to say anything too negative about the film—partly because of its plot. The story involves an actor (Edward Lionheart, played by Vincent Price) who has been panned throughout his career by the critics. He decides to take his revenge by killing them off using the same methods Shakespeare used in his plays. The clever-beyond-clever tagline provided on the cover (pictured above) reads "It's Curtains for his Critics!" To give you an idea of the variety the revenge takes, here's the original trailer for the film.

Note: This is a horror film, and the trailer is absolutely horrific. The back of the DVD case boasts that "the filmmakers used over six gallons of movie make-up blood" in making this film, and the trailer gives some indication of that. Watch at your own risk. Or skip this clip and watch the second. That clip is threatening and horrific, but it doesn't show any actual violence.

The trailer doesn't show the film's use of Titus Andronicus, but that play enters the plot of this film when we learn that one of the critics marked for destruction has two poodles. Based on that fact and on your knowledge of the play, you can pretty much guess what happens. Here's a clip that introduces that part of the plot.

Note: There's no actual violence in this clip, but Vincent Price's character quotes a threatening line from the play and the policeman attempting to protect the critic provides a rough outline of the plot.

The film horrified me (it was intended to do so, after all), but, strangely, it fascinated me as well. On the basis of the film, I re-read all the Shakespeare plays I'd already read and read the ones I hadn't—which number included Titus Andronicus.

Note: If you know of any other allusions to Titus Andronicus in film or television, would you please tell us about it in the comments below? I will be extremely grateful to you, and my article will be all the better for your help. Thanks!

Links: The Film at IMDB.

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

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tempest Winners!

The Tempest. Dir. Julie Taymor. Perf. Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn, Chris Cooper, Alan Cumming, Ben Whishaw, Reeve Carney, Felicity Jones, and Tom Conti. 2010. DVD. Miramax, 2011.

Thanks to all who submitted their favorite quotes from The Tempest to our recent Tempest Giveaway (for which, q.v.). We have our winners:
  • Christopher

  • CRS

  • B.K.

  • JuliaGiolzetti

  • Becky Myers
Congratulations to all our winners, and thanks again to all who submitted. And thanks, too, to Disney Studios In-Home Entertainment, who provided the DVDs as prizes.

Please e-mail me, winners, to claim your prizes. You can find my e-mail under the "Contact" section of my complete profile. Enjoy!

If you submitted but didn't win, feel free to shout "A pox o' your throat, you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog!" Go on—you'll feel better if you do!

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


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cry "Havoc," and let slip the dogs of Foyle's War

"Bleak Midwinter." By Foyle's War. Season 4, episode 3 (in American markets); Season 5, episode 1 (in British markets). ITV. 11 February 2007. DVD. Acorn Media, 2007.

If you're patient with British dramatic television series, they will usually reward you with a Shakespeare allusion or two—or even, if you're lucky, a quotation. For example, I detected no Shakespeare in the first season of the immensely-popular Downton Abbey, but they squeezed a quick quote (or, if you're particular, a quick truism—or even a quick cliché) from The Tempest into the second season's opening episode. If you're keeping score, the quote was "a brave new world" (see image below).

It took four (or five, depending on how you count them) seasons for Foyle's War to provide a Shakespeare quote (unless, as I readily admit may be the case, I missed an earlier one). In the clip below, Samantha Stewart is driving Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle from an interview with a witness back to Police Headquarters. She misquotes Shakespeare—only slightly—and we can see Foyle's hesitation before he corrects her.

Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war!
Julius Caesar, III.i.273

I always want more, but hearing a Shakespeare quote like that is a bit like meeting an old friend on the street. And that's always nice.

Downton Abbey Quotes Shakespeare.

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

Click below to purchase the episode—and a vast number of others—
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 2008-2039 (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