david tennant hamlet 2009

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Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2 Gifset- I tried to learn my favorite Hamlet soliloquy which is “Oh What a Rogue” in what would be Hamlet’s native language of Denmark which would be Danish. But, it was a lot more difficult than I had originally thought. However, I think Danish is a beautiful European language, and I think it would be fascinating to learn it at some point or another. 

anonymous asked:

Is there any Hamlet production that you would recommend?

To be honest, I’ve yet to see a production of Hamlet I’m entirely pleased with, but every version has at least one interesting thing about it.

Also, with so many Hamlets to choose from, which version I recommend depends a lot on what sort of person you are and what you personally like. If you can, I think it’s almost always better to see it live in theatre, even a relatively good version on stage can be better than a film version watched in the wrong circumstances. But if the stage version turns out to be very bad, it can ruin it for you too. A difficult choice. One thing to try might be filmed stage versions. Recent cinecast filmings have been very good quality:

The Benedict Cumberbatch Hamlet (2015): Some of the cast is better than the rest, and Cumberbatch is pretty good (I say that from the perspective of someone who’s not a fan-girl). This version presents a very physical, energetic and active Hamlet, less philosophical.

I’ve also heard many good things about the new Paapa Essiedu Hamlet that the RSC put on this year, though I have yet to see it, and I don’t think it’s available as a recording yet.

The Globe to Globe production was also very good for the kind of touring production it was, but as far as I know it’s not available as a recording.

As for films (in no particular order), the main choice would be between the following:

The Kenneth Branagh Hamlet (1996): It’s long, because it’s about as uncut as a production could be, and I’m not always the biggest fan of Branagh and his cast-himself-as-main-character approach, but there are some great moments in this Hollywood version. What I don’t like is the way that it insists on showing everything, making the poetic imagery redundant. I hesitate to call it excellent, but it’s not awful either.

The Zeffirelli Hamlet (1990): Zeffirelli is a great director, which really makes a difference, and Mel Gibson is surprisingly good, as is the rest of the pretty all-star cast. But this is a pretty heavily cut version (most film versions are). The only thing I really don’t like in this is the enhanced incestuousness of Gertrude and Hamlet.

Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948). This is one of those universally acclaimed versions you just can’t ignore, though it’s not to my taste… I recognise that he’s good at what he does, but I’m not keen on his acting style, and I’m not keen on the overtly Freudian direction of this one.

Derek Jacobi’s Hamlet (1980): Like a lot of the 80s BBC productions, the direction and cinematography (or lack thereof) lets this one down. Jacobi is pretty good, but it’s unwatchable unless you’re okay with those films that look like they’re shot on cheap sets. They end up being neither proper films, or filmed versions of plays.

The David Tennant Hamlet (2009): Unpopular opinion, I know, but I’ve never been impressed with Tennant. If you’re a big fan of his, this might be for you, but overall I feel it lacks subtlety in execution. Patrick Stewart was pretty good as Claudius, but a good production of Hamlet definitely needs a strong Hamlet.

Bonus global versions I really recommend:

The Kozintsev Hamlet (1964) is absolutely sublime in its own way. He’s a great director, and this is a great film version if you’re prepared to watch Shakespeare without his language.

Haider (2014): I’ve mentioned this Bollywood adaptation before. It’s not a faithful version of Hamlet per say, but if you already know Hamlet and you’re looking for a great film to watch, this is it. It’s good on it’s own merit and as a version that brings out some of the central concerns of Hamlet in its own artistic way. 


Do bear in mind though that these are my personal opinions and not the last word on it by any means! What I really mean to say is that there isn’t a version I can recommend above others, and you’ll have to make a decision based on your tastes and preferences.