Hamlet

January 18th, 1991







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more trailers Hamlet

Still of Mel Gibson in HamletStill of Mel Gibson and Glenn Close in HamletStill of Helena Bonham Carter and Ian Holm in HamletStill of Mel Gibson and Helena Bonham Carter in HamletStill of Mel Gibson and Glenn Close in HamletStill of Mel Gibson in Hamlet

Plot
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans revenge.

Release Year: 1990

Rating: 6.8/10 (11,527 voted)

Critic's Score: 53/100

Director: Franco Zeffirelli

Stars: Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates

Storyline
Hamlet returns to Denmark when his father, the King, dies. His mother Gertrude has already married Hamlet's uncle Claudius, the new King. They urge Hamlet to marry his beloved Ophelia. But soon the ghost of Hamlet's father appears and tells Hamlet that he was murdered by Claudius and Gertrude. Hamlet must choose between passive acquiescence and the need for a vengeance which might lead to tragedy.

Writers: William Shakespeare, Christopher De Vore

Cast:
Mel Gibson - Hamlet
Glenn Close - Gertrude
Alan Bates - Claudius
Paul Scofield - The Ghost
Ian Holm - Polonius
Helena Bonham Carter - Ophelia
Stephen Dillane - Horatio
Nathaniel Parker - Laertes
Sean Murray - Guildenstern
Michael Maloney - Rosencrantz
Trevor Peacock - The Gravedigger
John McEnery - Osric
Richard Warwick - Bernardo
Christien Anholt - Marcellus
Dave Duffy - Francisco

Taglines: The extraordinary adaptation of Shakespeare's classic tale of vengeance and tragedy.

Release Date: 18 January 1991

Filming Locations: Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK

Gross: $20,710,451 (USA)



Technical Specs

Runtime:



Did You Know?

Trivia:
The only known example of a UK U-certificate film to feature the C-word. Mel Gibson as mad-Hamlet talks of "country matters" to Ophelia. He is not referring to farms.

Goofs:
Continuity: During Ophelia's lament, she reaches out with one arm to anyone who will help. In the next shot, the opposite arm is outstretched.

Quotes:
[first lines]
Claudius: Hamlet! Think of us as of a father. For let the world take note: you are the most immediate to our throne. And with no less nobility of love than that which dearest father bears his son do I impart toward you.



User Review

To Define True Madness, What Is't But To Be Nothing Else But Mad?

Rating:

I'd put off viewing this version of "Hamlet" for a long time, because I'd heard that they'd turned this most cerebral of plays into an "action movie", but I ended up quite liking it.

I should begin by saying that I approve of ALL interpretations, because each choice reflects different possibilities all of which are supportable by the text; no one vision can encompass every potentiality inherent in the play. And the text per se, of course, will always exist in absolute form despite the number of hands that manipulate it.

All productions (except Branagh's) cut certain elements as a sacrifice to tighter (though narrower) focus. And the use of film rather than stage allows (even necessitates) different types of dramatic development. Films unfold at a different pace than stage plays. Zefirelli's adaptations WORK as film-making, without detracting from (or unnecessarily supplementing) Shakespeare's language. For instance, the little "prologue" scene showing the internment of the dead king. It is original to the movie, and yet the dialogue is still from the play; it doesn't misrepresent anything about the characters in its new context. And perhaps most importantly, it "works" in the movie that the director is making. But on to the substantive comment...

Mel Gibson was, in my opinion, too old to be Hamlet (making Glenn Close, by extension, too young to be Gertrude), but the issue of Hamlet's age has always been a problem. He's 30 in the text (this version leaves out that calculation), but that makes some of his relationships (with Ophelia, for instance) seem a little... immature. And yet if he's portrayed too young, his depth of thought is almost impossibly precocious. But I thought he was convincing nonetheless, particularly in expressing something that I've found central to my understanding of the play but I all too rarely see dealt with in Hamlet's portrayal, which is this:

Hamlet IS quite mad. 'Tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true. From his first meeting with the ghost onwards, he is profoundly disturbed. It is irony that he then puts an 'antic disposition' on, because he has in actuality gone quite 'round the bend.

Mel Gibson not only gives the first convincing portrayal of Hamlet's "pretended" madness that I've seen, but he also shows us the desperation of the character in his quiet moments. Hamlet is not, as Olivier posited in his 1948 version, merely "a man who could not make up his mind." Gibson's Hamlet spends much of the film alternating between mania-induced impulsiveness and paralyzing inability to act. The Dane is not merely melancholy, he is certifiably manic-depressive. (Claudius, I believe, sees this.)

Over all, I believe that this would be a good introduction to the story of Hamlet for those who otherwise would have had no contact with it, although as I said it can then be supplemented by other adaptations (and of course there's no substitute for, ultimately, reading the text).









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