Hamlet: A Comparison of Two Movies
May 29, 2006
The purpose of this report is to compare and contrast two movies made about Hamlet. I will present and discuss different aspects of the version directed by Kenneth Branagh to that of Franco Zefirelli. During this paper you will be presented with my opinions in reference to determining which version of Hamlet best reflects the original text by Shakespeare. I will end this paper with my belief and explanation of which movie is true to the original play.
Normally, when a movie is made about a story in a book the two stories are not exactly the same. The movie is adjusted by adding small details or leaving out some parts in order to make the story more
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Zefirelli also left out another part from the play. In the play, Polonius asks Reynaldo to travel to France and spy on his son Laertes. However, the movie never shows this scene. In fact, the movie fails to even include Reynaldo. Another aspect to consider between the two movies is the settings. The play takes place in a cool and raw gothic time. However, the settings in both films are quite different. Branagh's film is updated to the 19th century and in an opulent palace. The palace has mirrors with the magnificent hall at the center of the royal court. This isn't the impression I had when reading the play. However, the weather in this version appears to be cloudy and visibly cold. The weather creates suspense because it appears as a threat. You could hear the gasping wind which portrayed the men as being uncomfortable and cold which added to their fear of what was to come. This is in major contrast to Zefirelli's film which takes place in a Scottish castle with medieval costumes that are far more appropriate to the play's tone. The air of the castle is a gloomy, dark mansion which is a perfect place for the play to reflect someone grieving. This is much more like I would have imagined the original play to present. Another aspect is the presentation of the ghost. The imagery of each setting is used to portray the ghost scenes differently. In Zefirelli's version the ghost is portrayed using only lighting to cast a strange glow or gleaming