Filming Shakespeare's Plays: The Adaptations of Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles, Peter Brook and Akira Kurosawa

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 29, 1990 - Literary Criticism - 219 pages
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Shakespeare's plays provide wonderfully challenging material for the film maker. While acknowledging that dramatic experiences for theatre and cinema audiences are significantly different, this book reveals some of the special qualities of cinema's dramatic language in the film adaptations of Shakespeare's plays by four directors - Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles, Peter Brook and Akira Kurosawa - each of whom has a distinctly different approach to a film representation. Davies begins his study with a comparison of theatrical and cinematic space showing that the dramatic resources of cinema are essentially spatial. The central chapters focus on Laurence Olivier's Henry V, Hamlet and Richard III; Orson Welles' Macbeth, Othello and Chimes at Midnight; Peter Brook's King Lear and Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood. Davies discusses the dramatic problems posed by the source plays for these films for the film maker and he examines how these films influenced later theatrical stagings. He concludes with an examination of the demands that distinguish the work of the Shakespearean stage actor from that of his counterpart in film.
  

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Shakespeare’s plays provide wonderfully challenging material for the film maker. While acknowledging that dramatic experiences for theatre and cinema audiences are significantly different, this book ... Read full review

Contents

Cinematic and theatrical space
5
Laurence Oliviers HENRY V
26
Laurence Oliviers HAMLET
40
Laurence Oliviers RICHARD III
65
Orson Welless MACBETH
83
Orson Welless OTHELLO
100
Orson Welless CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT
119
Peter Brooks KING LEAR and Akira Kurosawas THRONE OF BLOOD
143
The film actor
167
Conclusion
184
Notes
188
Select filmography
199
Bibliography
202
Index
215
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About the author (1990)

Anthony Davies is a writer, consultant and lecturer specialising in marketing and business communications. He has lectured extensively on PR and trained non-marketing managers and professionals in PR and marketing. He has created and operated successful PR programmes in the private and not-for-profit sectors and has advised numerous SMEs. An experienced broadcaster, Anthony contributes regularly to the business press and gives lectures, talks and workshops for the Chartered Institute of Marketing and other professional/trade associations, as well as numerous universities.

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