213 Richard III

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Martha
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213 Richard III

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:40 pm

Richard III

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With Richard III, director, producer, and star Laurence Olivier brings Shakespeare’s masterpiece of Machiavellian villainy to mesmerizing cinematic life. Olivier is diabolically captivating as Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who, through a set of murderous machinations, steals the crown from his brother Edward. The supporting cast—including Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud, and Claire Bloom—is just as impressive. Filmed in VistaVision and Technicolor, Richard III is one of the most visually inspired of all big-screen Bard adaptations.

Disc Features

- New high-definition digital master of the Film Foundation’s 2012 restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- Audio commentary by playwright and stage director Russell Lees and John Wilders, former governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company
- Interview with actor Laurence Olivier from a 1966 episode of the BBC series Great Acting, hosted by theater critic Kenneth Tynan
- Gallery of behind-the-scenes and production stills and posters, accompanied by excerpts from Olivier’s autobiography, On Acting
- Twelve-minute television trailer featuring footage of Olivier, producer Alexander Korda, and other cast and crew from the film
-Trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Amy Taubin in the Blu-ray edition


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hearthesilence
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#2 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:51 pm

I just saw this recently. I've got mixed feelings about Olivier's cinematic work, but this was surprisingly good, possibly the most satisfying performance I've seen from him in any of his pictures. The cast around him delivers, which was one of the disappointments of Hamlet, IMO. Gorgeous transfer, too, really suits the garish colors.

rskjels
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#3 Post by rskjels » Fri Jan 12, 2007 5:02 am

Richard III is the main article on Wikipedia today

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HerrSchreck
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#4 Post by HerrSchreck » Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:20 pm

Underwhelmed, and this film has one of the most hideous pieces of mise en scene I've ever seen, which is when the camera lifts slowly to allow the cast to exit the scene nowhere in particular under the camera.

I also cannot stand studio bound pieces where the ceiling spots cast a general whitish glare from the top of the frame, and fading down into the composition.

That aside, interesting if for no other reason than to scan Lydon/Rotten's inspiration for his Pistols persona in Olivier's hellbent performance.

Give me the beautifully executed HAMLET anyday.

skweeker
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Re: 213 Richard III

#5 Post by skweeker » Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:56 pm

I love this film, it's so boombastic what with all that old-school Brit acting and all. I mean there's a lot of guys who later had "Sir" added to their names on this cast list. Great presentation of the material, in a 1950s BBC TV kind of way. The dialogue's pretty snappy too, once one makes the adjustment.

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Fiery Angel
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Re: 213 Richard III

#6 Post by Fiery Angel » Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:52 pm

skweeker wrote:The dialogue's pretty snappy too, once one makes the adjustment.
Ol' Will will be happy to hear it!

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Tommaso
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Re: 213 Richard III

#7 Post by Tommaso » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:52 am

Fiery Angel wrote:
skweeker wrote:The dialogue's pretty snappy too, once one makes the adjustment.
Ol' Will will be happy to hear it!
Well, Will won't be happy to hear it, but I always thought that the best thing about this film is the completely dialogue-free part of Jane Shore played by the magnificent Pamela Brown...

Otherwise, I find the film rather disappointing as a film. The direction is stately, but uninspired, and the film drags enormously in places (which is about the only thing a Shakespeare play, filmed or not, should never do). Even if you regard it as a BBC-style presentation of the play, it is a far cry from the intensity of the filmed stage version of "Othello", also starring Olivier, from the 60s.

skweeker
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Re: 213 Richard III

#8 Post by skweeker » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:52 pm

Oh I agree that Olivier's Othello is a better film, as is his Henry V, or even his Hamlet. But his Richard III, although not quite at the level of those, is yet better than any other filmic Richard. (Pacino's does not quite count.)

As to the disc, I would have thought that VistaVision would have looked better: maybe I've been spoiled by that Searchers Blu-ray.

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kaujot
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Re: 213 Richard III

#9 Post by kaujot » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:55 pm

I'm quite partial to Richard Loncraine's Richard III.

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HerrSchreck
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Re: 213 Richard III

#10 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:28 pm

I like the 1912 Richard III better-- brings across the tone of almost gothic horror of his character better. Hell, I even prefer Universal's Tower of London to the Olivier, which is a drab mess, frankly.

skweeker
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Re: 213 Richard III

#11 Post by skweeker » Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:49 am

Oh I had forgotten "Tower of London": that is pretty good. More fun than Olivier's version, anyway.

HarryLong
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Re: 213 Richard III

#12 Post by HarryLong » Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:06 pm

I prefer the Ian McKellan version.

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colinr0380
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Re: 213 Richard III

#13 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:45 am

I'll go out on a limb with this impromptu version comparison and say that I liked Looking For Richard a lot. Sure you have to get through the "why can't we dumb Americans play Shakespeare proper like what those cultured British guys do" approach that is flattering but unnecessary and you also have to cope with a Winona Ryder performance (though she is in the drippy role of the possession passed around, so is kind of appropriate in her part!)

While it is just dramatised excerpts intercut with the cast trying to figure out what it all means rather than an adaptation of the full play, at least it finally allowed Pacino to go over the top in an appropriate role, the one that he seemed born to play!

It will do until the six hour Branagh version comes along and sweeps the Oscars I suppose.

skweeker
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Re: 213 Richard III

#14 Post by skweeker » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:10 am

Yes agreed Looking for Richard is top notch.

As to other filmed versions of the story of Richard III, on second thought, my preference still runs to the use of Shakespeare's actual words: I like hearing the bard's words delivered by good Brit stage-trained actors.

IIRC, 'Tower of London', though based on the story of Richard III, and as entertaining as it is as a movie, did not use the Bard's words. And the silent version....well, no speaking, therefore NOT Shakespeare.

The making of a good film from the words of Shakespeare is not a simple task: the film-maker is asked to add a lot to what is there. But I yet prefer that the film-maker NOT jettison the actual words...

HarryLong
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Re: 213 Richard III

#15 Post by HarryLong » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:15 pm

And the silent version....well, no speaking, therefore NOT Shakespeare.
Presumably there were intertitles based on the play ... ?

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Yojimbo
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Re: 213 Richard III

#16 Post by Yojimbo » Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:20 pm

colinr0380 wrote:I'll go out on a limb with this impromptu version comparison and say that I liked Looking For Richard a lot. Sure you have to get through the "why can't we dumb Americans play Shakespeare proper like what those cultured British guys do" approach that is flattering but unnecessary and you also have to cope with a Winona Ryder performance (though she is in the drippy role of the possession passed around, so is kind of appropriate in her part!)

While it is just dramatised excerpts intercut with the cast trying to figure out what it all means rather than an adaptation of the full play, at least it finally allowed Pacino to go over the top in an appropriate role, the one that he seemed born to play!

It will do until the six hour Branagh version comes along and sweeps the Oscars I suppose.
I watched 'LFR' before I watched Louis Malle's 'Vanya', which was done in a similar style, except for of a sustained play.

I remember actually liking LFR better than I did 'Vanya', mostly for the Pacino over-the-top reason you cited, but I wonder was Pacino influenced by the Malle?

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HerrSchreck
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Re: 213 Richard III

#17 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:27 pm

skweeker wrote:Yes agreed Looking for Richard is top notch.

As to other filmed versions of the story of Richard III, on second thought, my preference still runs to the use of Shakespeare's actual words: I like hearing the bard's words delivered by good Brit stage-trained actors.

IIRC, 'Tower of London', though based on the story of Richard III, and as entertaining as it is as a movie, did not use the Bard's words. And the silent version....well, no speaking, therefore NOT Shakespeare.

The making of a good film from the words of Shakespeare is not a simple task: the film-maker is asked to add a lot to what is there. But I yet prefer that the film-maker NOT jettison the actual words...
If you knew the silent version, you'd know that the actors are indeed speaking the lines of the play precisely, and that Frederick Warde was one of the biggest Shakespearean actors of his time-- an Olivier-esque legend indeed. The film was, just like the Olivier version, the film industry using whatever means technology made available at the time to film wha they deemed The Great Rendering of Richard. Thus the 1912 absolutely IS Shakespeare.

My quote about Tower of London was meant to illustrate how bad I think the Olivier film is.. for TOL is almost like one of those stupid little family shows you see on the outdoor sets at Universal Studios Orlando... but I still derive more enjoyment from it than the CC.

I also like Ian Hunter-- his lusty, rugged, bone-chewing, meat-tearing machismo in this film is great-- even in stupid roles like that, so...

skweeker
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Re: 213 Richard III

#18 Post by skweeker » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:31 pm

Ah so.
But you still cannot hear the bard's words,eh?

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HerrSchreck
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Re: 213 Richard III

#19 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:25 am

Sure I can-- the film conjures them for me, and my imagination attaches a voice to the lips of Frederick Warde.

This is how silent film "works".

Your issue seems to lie more with the medium of silent film as a effective means to deliver a story wholesale. In that case there is no sufficient, faithful transmission of any script via silent film, because the words being spoken cannot be heard (at least not faithful enough for an author to have his name attached to it, so that the silent Richard is "not" Shakespeare").

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kaujot
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Re: 213 Richard III

#20 Post by kaujot » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:31 am

And?

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HerrSchreck
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Re: 213 Richard III

#21 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:46 am

Huh?

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kaujot
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Re: 213 Richard III

#22 Post by kaujot » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:42 am

Your post somehow got in front of mine!

I could have sworn yours wasn't there when I posted. Sorry about that confusion. :)

Murasaki53
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Re: 213 Richard III

#23 Post by Murasaki53 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:01 am

This is slightly at a tangent to the discussion but according to a mate of mine (Oxford graduate, Head of English at a mediocre UK public school) the actors performing Shakespeare at the time he was alive would have sounded more like Americans than the usual cut glass vowel, modern RSC enunciators. So when we Brits get all sniffy about Americans performing Shakespeare with an inappropriate accent, we are simply wrong.

As for the debate about the Olivier version, I love it. His performance was, apparently, an inspiration to John Lydon. Which is good enough for me.

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HerrSchreck
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Re: 213 Richard III

#24 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:14 am

Murasaki53 wrote:As for the debate about the Olivier version, I love it. His performance was, apparently, an inspiration to John Lydon. Which is good enough for me.
I, above wrote: That aside, interesting if for no other reason than to scan Lydon/Rotten's inspiration for his Pistols persona in Olivier's hellbent performance.
So I'm with you on that singular point. But even Lydon said that Olivier's performance "was out-rayyyyjussly over the tup.."

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Tommaso
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Re: 213 Richard III

#25 Post by Tommaso » Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:31 am

skweeker wrote:The making of a good film from the words of Shakespeare is not a simple task: the film-maker is asked to add a lot to what is there. But I yet prefer that the film-maker NOT jettison the actual words...
Well, in this case you'd have to totally discard "Throne of Blood", which doesn't use a single word from Shakespeare's text, but still is an adaptation of "Macbeth" which relates most closely to the spirit and the intensity of the play. Quite apart from the fact that the textual situation of Shakespeare's plays is famously complicated. What we have in many cases- not just in "Macbeth" where it's really apparent - are already 'adapted' versions, with alterations and additions by other hands. With a few exceptions, there is no definitive Shakespeare text to which one could adhere. And the performance history, especially in the first centuries after his death, shows that the concept of not jettisoning the words must be a relatively new one.

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