Hamlet (1948)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama

Hamlet (1948) Poster

Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former King.

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  • "Hamlet" Laurence Olivier 1948 Rank / Two Cities
  • Laurence Olivier in Hamlet (1948)
  • Laurence Olivier and Jean Simmons in Hamlet (1948)
  • Laurence Olivier and Jean Simmons in Hamlet (1948)
  • Laurence Olivier in Hamlet (1948)
  • Laurence Olivier in Hamlet (1948)

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Cast & Crew

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Laurence Olivier


William Shakespeare (by)

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1 June 1999 | xenophil
| Is this the greatest of the greatest?
I had expected something extraordinary from an actor I had thought was one of the greatest Shakespearean performers, but I just could not see it. I did not think it was bad but I remained unmoved. Also, there were substantial cuts to the text.

Maybe sensibilities change. Maybe I am too jaded by modern lavish production values to appreciate this primitive-looking one. The pace seemed jerky, some of the acting mannered, including Olivier's, and the mannerisms seemed dated and not all of a consistent style. The miracle I hope for is that the play in its fullness could be intelligibly pitched to a modern sensibility - or else that the production style could elucidate an earlier sensibility. In this version, the flowery Renaissance sensibility that pervades the lovely poignant scene of the death of Ophelia seems replaced by half-hearted Freudianism and a dated concept of medieval style where austerity and floridness jarringly conflict.

I would be grateful if one production could make clear to me why Hamlet feigns madness. I guess I am still looking for the definitive Hamlet.

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