By Shakespeare, William; Anderegg, Michael; Shakespeare, William
Cinematic Shakespeare takes the reader contained in the making of a few major variations to demonstrate how cinema transforms and re-imagines the dramatic shape and magnificence imperative to Shakespeare's imagination.
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Extra resources for Cinematic Shakespeare
Makers of the first westerns, silent and early sound, bent or broke the “rules” of the genre in order to keep their pictures vital. From the 1940s through the 1960s, writers and directors went even further. High Noon was transparently more social problem film than western, whereas Giant and Hud moved Texas ranchers (and their psychological burdens) well into the twentieth century. Cat Ballou and especially Blazing Saddles—a descent into parody, and not always affectionate—seemed to stamp “paid” to the genre.
I am not arguing that nothing should be cut. Shakespeare’s plays have almost from the beginning been adapted, altered, bowdlerized, rewritten, combined, or incorporated into other texts. The idea that Shakespeare is in some sense a “sacred” author is relatively recent: it was unknown throughout all of the eighteenth and most of the nineteenth centuries. My point is that cutting a particular scene, character, speech, or line may have multiple effects. 1 contributes to a Hamlet incongruously picturesque, bright, and airy; Zeffirelli has eliminated the dark side.
The opening of Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet can serve as illustration. The formal patterning of the Chorus’s recitation is placed in partially supportive and partially ironic juxtaposition to the chaotic world it is evoking. ) whose purpose is to both illustrate and reveal the limitations of the controlled language we hear and see. Just as in Shakespeare’s play, the Chorus’s attempt to contain and encapsulate the entire plot of the tragedy into the decorous parameters of a regular English sonnet is immediately called into question by the roving boys who come to occupy the stage upon his exit, so Luhrmann, employing simultaneity in place of sequentiality, gives us a similar effect.