The Cambridge companion to Shakespeare on film /

Corporate Author: Cambridge collections online.
Other Authors: Jackson, Russell, 1949-
Format: Online Book
Language: English
Published: Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Edition: 2nd ed.
Series: Cambridge companions to literature.
Online Access: Online version
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Review by Choice Review

A movie "insider," Jackson (Univ. of Birmingham, UK) wrote the "film diary" for the published screenplay of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1996) and served as adviser for Shakespeare in Love (1998). This "companion" is actually and merely a collection of essays by Jackson and his academic colleagues in Britain, the US, and Europe covering adaptations and derivatives. Among the usual suspects are Anthony Davies on Olivier's films and Samuel Crowl on Branagh's. Herb Coursen evaluates adaptations of Richard III. Patricia Tatspaugh offers a nice discussion of Shakespeare's "tragedies of love," and Michael Hattaway is fine on the comedies. The essay on Kozintsev is perceptive and quite good. Others are borderline foolish. Olivier's Hamlet is considered a film noir, unlikely, since noir involves more than lighting and camera movement. One contributor claims that "video cannot be considered as a medium in its own right," which is nonsense, since some "filmmakers" have chosen to shoot on video. Another offers an unconvincing discussion of Shakespeare films as a "movie genre," offering allusions to Scarlett O'Hara, Robin Hood, Zorro, and Zhivago. Still another claims Zeffirelli's "pictures can speak" as "eloquently as Shakespeare's words." Questionable conclusions notwithstanding, on balance the good outweighs the not so good. For undergraduates, graduates, and general readers in need of "companionship." J. M. Welsh Salisbury State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.