Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Two Macbeths from Orson Welles

Macbeth. Dir. Orson Welles. Perf. Orson Welles, Jeanette Nolan, Dan O’Herlihy, Roddy McDowall, Edgar Barner, and Alan Napier. 1948. DVD. Republic Pictures Home Video, 1992. 

Back in 2013 (yes, I'm running a bit behind), I was thrilled to see a new DVD release of Orson Welles' Macbeth. The only previous version I knew of was imported from Korea—and it was wonderful (except that I had to turn off the Korean subtitles every time I started it).  But I thought that, perhaps, the new release would have the audio cleaned up a bit and the video restored somewhat.

When the DVD arrived, I found that its run time was 1:47:34; the previous release had a run time of 1:42:38. The new release, I thought, contained a precious four minutes and fifty-eight seconds' worth of material not found on the earlier release! What scene that had been cut had been restored? Or was it a general lengthening—a few speeches here, a few speeches there, but each one adding to the overall texture of the film?

It turns out to be the same film, just run at a slightly-slower speed so that it takes an extra five minutes to watch. I love this film, but it doesn't need to be five minutes slower.

Thus, caveat emptor—especially if the emptor has been primed with this knowledge from Bardfilm.

Links: The Film at IMDB.

Click below to purchase the film (in either version) from
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Book Note: Romeo and Juliet: The War

Work, Max, Stan Lee, and Terry Dougas. Romeo and Juliet: The War. Illus. Skan Srisuwan. Dallas: Viper Press, 2011.

In 2010, Shakespeare Geek mentioned an upcoming comic release he'd spotted somewhere.

In 2011, he had somehow managed to track down an advance copy, and he offered the world an encouraging review and described the book as looking "like a movie," suggesting that an actual film version of the book would be "pretty awesome."

In 2015, his prediction / suggestion seems to be coming true—a film is in production.

Well, when Shakespeare Geek says something once, I read it. When he says something twice, I ponder it. And when he says something thrice, I actually make sure I investigate what he's talking about.

The book has been officially out since 2011, and I managed to track down a copy. It's not my particular cup of tea, actually, but I see that it might be a way of thinking about the story that could yield some useful food for thought about the play itself—and / or serve as a way of familiarizing an unfamiliar audience with the basic plot, including the tensions between the Montagues and the Capulets.  

I can't outdo Shakespeare Geek, but I can provide something he didn't—a sample of the book. Below are the first dozen pages of the book. I'll leave it to the individual to gauge interest in the book:

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Paule Marshall Re-imagines Caliban

Marshall, Paule. "Brazil." Soul Clap Hands and Sing. Washington, D.C: Howard University Press, 1988. 131-77.

In her 1961 short story "Brazil" (one of four long short stories in the volume Soul Clap Hands and Sing), African-American author Paule Marshall interestingly re-imagines Caliban.

The opening of the story is in the image to the right (click on it to enlarge it). It sets the stage of a nightclub in Brazil and its long-time headlining show: The Great Caliban and the Tiny Miranda.

We soon learn that Miranda is a very tall white woman and Caliban is an extremely diminutive black man.

The story is leisurely in its teasing out the relationships and the setting.  Caliban is set to retire soon—as he's threatened many times before—and the two performers are barely on speaking terms.

As he ponders his retirement, we find Caliban in something of an identity crisis. Everyone calls him "Senhor Caliban" or "Caliban"—even his young wife—and he thinks that he's forgotten who he's meant to be.

We learn this in one of the only direct allusions to Shakespeare in the piece. Some Americans who had been at the nightclub stop him as he walks the streets, hoping he can help them communicate with their taxi driver. After he does so, one of the Americans asks, "Say, aren't you the comedian from the club? What's your name again?" (150) It brings a desire to be known under his old name, "Heitor Baptista Guimares" (151):

The story continues for some time with Heitor / Caliban trying to figure out who he is—is he who he was born or who the public considers him to be? It's a remarkable exploration of the nature of identity.

Click below to purchase the book from
(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