Hamlet (1990 film)

Hamlet (1990 film)

Infobox Film
name = Hamlet

caption = Film poster for "Hamlet"
director = Franco Zeffirelli
producer = Dyson Lovell
writer = Franco Zeffirelli
Christopher De Vore
starring = Mel Gibson
Glenn Close
Helena Bonham Carter
music = Ennio Morricone
cinematography = David Watkin
editing = Richard Marden
distributor = Warner Bros. (North America)
Carolco Pictures (internationally)
released = start date|1990|12|19 (limited)
start date|1991|1|18 (wide release)
runtime = 135 min.
language = English
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
imdb_id = 0099726

"Hamlet" is a 1990 film based on the Shakespearean play of the same name. Mel Gibson has the title role as the young Prince Hamlet, Glenn Close plays his mother, Queen Gertrude, Alan Bates plays his uncle, now King Claudius, Paul Scofield appears as the ghost of Hamlet's Father, Ian Holm plays Polonius, and Helena Bonham Carter plays Ophelia. It was directed by Franco Zeffirelli. It was also the first film from Icon Productions, a company Gibson co-founded.

The cast includes three actors — Scofield, Bates, and Holm — who had themselves played Hamlet on stage or film. It also features two actors - Stephen Dillane and Michael Maloney - who went on to play Hamlet onstage.

The movie was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, and Dover Castle were used as locations in the film.

Adaptation and interpretation

Film scholar Deborah Cartmell has suggested that Zeffirelli's Shakespeare films are appealing because they are "sensual rather than cerebral", an approach by which he aims to make Shakespeare "even more popular". [Cartmell, Deborah "Franco Zeffirelli and Shakespeare" in Jackson, Russell (ed.) "The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Screen" (Cambridge University Press, 2000) p.212, quoting a Zeffirelli interview given to The South Bank Show in December 1997.] To this end, he cast the Hollywood actor Mel Gibson - then famous for the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon films - in the title role. Cartmell also notes that the text is drastically cut, but with the effect of enhancing the roles of the women. [Cartmell, p.215]

J. Lawrence Guntner has suggested that Zeffirelli's cinematography borrows heavily from the action film genre that made Gibson famous, noting that its average shot length is less than six seconds. [Guntner, J. Lawrence: "Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear on film" in Jackson, Russell (ed.) "The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film" (Cambridge University Press, 2000) pp.117-123,ass titys pp.121-122] In casting Gibson, the director has been said to have made the star's reputation part of the performance, encouraging the audience "to see the Gibson that they have come to expect from his other films": [Quigley, Daniel "Double Exposure", in "Shakespeare Bulletin" Winter 1993 pp.38-9, cited by Keyishian, Harry "Shakespeare and Movie Genre: The Case of Hamlet" in Jackson, Russell (ed.) "The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film" (Cambridge University Press, 2000) p.77] Indeed, Gibson was cast after Zeffirelli watched his character contemplate suicide in the first Lethal Weapon film. [Keyishian, pp.72-81] The fight between Hamlet and Laertes is an example of using Gibson's experience in action movies. The whole fight depicts Hamlet not as the dark and brooding character that he is, but as a cocky fighter much like many of Gibson's previous roles. Harry Keyishian has suggested that "Hamlet" is well suited to this treatment, as it provides occasions for "enjoyable violence". [Keyishian, p.77]

J. Lawrence Guntner has written that the casting of Glenn Close as Mel Gibson's mother (only nine years older than him, in life, and then famous as the psychotic "other woman" in "Fatal Attraction") highlights the incest theme, leaving "little to our post-Freudian imagination" [Guntner, pp.121-122] and Deborah Cartmell notes that Close and Gibson simulate sex in the closet scene, and "she dies after sexually suggestive jerking movements, with Hamlet positioned on top of her, his face covered with sweat". [Cartmell, p.215]


External links

*Imdb title|0099726|Hamlet

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