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Shakespeare and the cinema

William Shakespeare’s age-old classics Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, Dry Noise and other works have attracted the constant attention of theater and film directors. His immortal works have been adapted many times for stage and screen.

Hamlet, Laurence Olivier, 1948

Hamlet is the author’s first film adaptation. In Clément Maurice’s two-minute Le duel d’Hamlet (Duel d’Hamlet / 1900), an actress, silent film star Sarah Bernhardt, played Hamlet. In 1907, Georges Méliès and in 1910 August Blom adapted the work to the cinema, still without sound. Kishore Sahu performed Indian Hamlet (1954). Sir Laurence Olivier was criticized for creating a different character from Shakespeare’s Hamlet in his Hamlet (1948), which he directed, produced and starred in. The sensitive innocence of Ophelia (Jean Simmons) was deemed too childish. The film was nonetheless a successful combination of theater and film, winning Academy Awards for Best Picture, Actress, Cinematography, Actor, Art Direction and Clothing Design in Venice.

Hamlet, Grigori Kozintsev, 1964

Grigori Kozintsev’s bestselling Hamlet (1964) went down in film history as the most masculine Hamlet, and their encounter with Ophelia the most erotic scene recording. The director, who built his film on three fundamentals, fire-iron-rock, used iron and poison as indicators of a logical and historical destiny instead of melodramatic elements. Metin Erksan gave the role of Hamlet to Fatma Girik in L’Ange de la vengeance / Female Hamlet (1976). In line with his master Laurence Olivier, Kenneth Branagh directs and comments on a 242-minute Hamlet (1996). Walt Disney Studio made Hamlet a cartoon: The Lion King (The Lion King/Roger Allers–Rob Minkoff/1994).

Macbeth, Roman Polanski, 1971

Like Hamlet, Macbeth has been made into movies many times. Macbeth (1948), directed and performed by Orson Welles, was followed by Japanese master Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (The Bloody Throne /1957). Kurosawa took the subject back to medieval Japan, using elements of Noh theater, creating his heroes from samurai. Roman Polanski expressed the brutality of his wife Sharon Tate after her unborn child was murdered by the evil Manson Gang in his portrayal of Macbeth (Bloody Reign/1971).

Othello, Orson Welles, 1952

Othello (1952) by Orson Welles took three years to shoot. Beginning filming in 1949, Welles traveled from America to Europe during McCarthy’s witch hunt. He invested his entire fortune in this film, playing Othello himself, for lack of money, Desdemona constantly changed. Filming was interrupted three times. The film’s most famous scene, the Turkish bath scene, reflects the director’s ability to react and his genius. The production company of a famous Italian fashion house, which could not afford the cost of the costumes, moved the scene of Cassio’s murder by Iago and Roderigo to the Turkish bath so as not to keep the actors and extras waiting in Morocco any longer. , then the costume problem solved, the actors passed in front of the camera with loincloths. The film Palme d’Or competently reflects all the enthusiasm and depression of Othello’s inner world. Actor Oliver Parker, who has repeatedly portrayed Iago and Roderigo on stage, adapted this tragedy full of passion, jealousy, greed, suspicion and murder (1995). The love scenes between black actress Laurence Fishburne and porcelain white Irene Jacob were pretty daring, with Kenneth Branagh playing the devious Iago.

Romeo and Juliet by Franco Zeffirelli, 1968

Franco Zeffirelli entrusts the roles to two unknown teenagers (Olivia Hussey, Leonard Whiting) in the Romeo and Juliet version (1968). Ernst Lubitch made a silent version (1920). There are adaptations (1940) by Kamal Selim from Egypt and Miguel M. Delgado from Mexico. Robert Wise and Baz Luhrmann have given contemporary interpretations of it: West Side Story (1961) and Romeo+Juliet (1996). Luhrmann transported the young lovers (Leonardo Di Caprio, Claire Danes) through a day of violence, drugs, guns, brutality. The events take place in a fictional town in California called Verona Beach.

The Merchant of Venice, Michael Radford, 2006.

Michael Radford successfully adapted one of Shakespeare’s most compelling plays, The Merchant of Venice (2006). Themes of love, romance, humor, discrimination, prejudice and forgiveness were conveyed realistically. The actors speak in a natural dialogue, not in the usual oratory. Actor-director Ralph Fiennes directed and starred in Corolianus (2011).

As for Shakespeare’s comedies, for some reason they don’t appear in the cinema as much as his tragedies. William Shakespeare, the greatest writer of all ages, who created the main problems of mankind which has never changed since its existence, the diversity and variability of human structure, with sharp, striking and full language humor, will obviously continue to influence many other artists by opening the doors of inspiration. There are other adaptations that cannot be included in this article, so don’t think we’ve overlooked them.

Source: Cumhuriyet

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