Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

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knives
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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#101 Post by knives » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:40 pm

I actually have no knowledge of the core problem plays, I thought this was going to be like Two Men in Verona, but it instantly makes me curious about them

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domino harvey
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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#102 Post by domino harvey » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:05 pm

I mean, this is why people talking about the Two Gentlemen of Verona as being "problematic" in modern speak is a, well, problem! There are only three Problem Plays, which is a Shakespeare-specific distinction based on how they fall with the rest of his oeuvre. The other two are All's Well That Ends Well and Troilus and Cressida

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#103 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:00 pm

How does one classify the total oddball plays -- like Pericles, Prince of Tyre and Titus Andronicus? (Not suggesting they are "problem plays) ;-)

Lots of "problematic" plays -- seems like not a useful category, however.

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knives
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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#104 Post by knives » Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:26 am

domino harvey wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:05 pm
I mean, this is why people talking about the Two Gentlemen of Verona as being "problematic" in modern speak is a, well, problem! There are only three Problem Plays, which is a Shakespeare-specific distinction based on how they fall with the rest of his oeuvre. The other two are All's Well That Ends Well and Troilus and Cressida
Oh, I meant in terms of over all silliness not problem title which I only learned about researching for the movie.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#105 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:23 am

Surely reductive but it seems that Pericles Prince of Tyre (and A Winter's Tale) is perhaps about the damage that parents do to their children (contrasting against King Lear, which is about the damage children do to their abdicating responsibility parents). Troilus and Cressida about the pragmatism of love as a survival tool (and of words of love being superficial) and the dangers of youthful 'pure love' curdling into vengeance in a situation between two warring sides (making it a necessary contrast against Romeo & Juliet's celebration of the insipid central couple against the petty feuding). Two Gentleman of Verona is about the stupidity of obsessive love (making it a necessary contrast against Othello, which takes such matters seriously and leaves everyone else in the dark about the violent brooding going on). All's Well That Ends Well is a gender swapped version of Taming of the Shrew, which still does not make bullying someone into marriage any better! And Titus Andronicus is an exploration of every possible motivation that a character could have for committing violent acts contained within a single play.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#106 Post by ando » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:40 am

knives wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:27 pm
I just got to the break of the BBC Measure for Measure which is my introduction to this play which I have not encountered before. It's made me so ecstatic so far that I just have to call out quickly on its virtues even before I am done. It's easily the best and smartest thing I've encountered by the bard with a humour that functions in perfect concert with the drama. Boy, is that drama a wonder as well. I'm shocked in this day and age it hasn't become a rallying cry given the intense political nature of sex in it. This is so explicit about the rights of man and woman that I am to say the least a little shocked.

I am sad to see that Yale hasn't gotten to it yet.
There was a production here in The Park a couple of summers back that I didn't see and one that I did see in the same space in 2011. The '79 BBC film, though, is one of my favorite Shakespeare treatments. The heartbreaking moment in Act V when Kate Nelligan (as Isabella) is pressured to relent and marry the Duke after his masterful manipulation of the whole ball of wax is Shakespeare's great touch. Course, if you're not rooting for her to be free of the intrigues of creepy men she may appear to be - as she must have the whole play long - an unwilling participator.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#107 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:17 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:How does one classify the total oddball plays -- like Pericles, Prince of Tyre and Titus Andronicus? (Not suggesting they are "problem plays) ;-)

Lots of "problematic" plays -- seems like not a useful category, however.
In Bloom’s big Shakespeare book, he puts Pericles among the Late Romances and Titus among the Apprentice Tragedies.

When I have access to a computer, I may type all his categories out. Might help situate the plays.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#108 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:46 am

...and I borrowed someone else's computer.

Here are Bloom categories from his book Shakespeare: Invention of the Human:


The Early Comedies
The Comedy of Errors
The Taming of the Shrew
The Two Gentlemen of Verona


The First Histories
Henry VI
King John
Richard III


The Apprentice Tragedies
Titus Andronicus
Romeo and Juliet
Julius Caesar


The High Comedies
Love's Labour's Lost
A Midsummer Night's Dream
The Merchant of Venice
Much Ado About Nothing
As You Like It
Twelfth Night


The Major Histories
RIchard II
Henry IV
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Henry V


The "Problem Plays"
Troilus and Cressida
All's Well That Ends Well
Measure for Measure


The Great Tragedies
Hamlet
Othello
King Lear
Macbeth
Anthony and Cleopatra


The Tragic Epilogue
Coriolanus
Timon of Athens


The Late Romances
Pericles
Cymbeline
The Winter's Tale
The Tempest
Henry VIII
The Two Noble Kinsmen

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domino harvey
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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#109 Post by domino harvey » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:18 am

I just started listening to Bloom's lecture series on the Tragedies and he starts with Romeo and Juliet and effusively (You don't say!) calls it a masterpiece throughout and he rates the Taming of the Shrew as highly as most of the later comedies, so these divisions are not necessarily value judgments either. I haven't worked my way through the Bloom book yet but literal LOLs at him throwing the Merry Wives of Windsor in with the Histories because of Falstaff-- I mean, I get it, but c'mon

Also, the University of Oxford has a "podcast" with lectures on every play, though these have been of variable quality for me so far. I thought Titus Andronicus brought some insights to looking primarily at the scene where Marcus soliloquizes Lavinia's wounds rather than assisting her, but found Romeo and Juliet to be rather vapid and filled with Groovy Grandpa inclusions like recommending a YouTube video in which a sassy gay friend counsels Juliet-- vom

Also started one of Peter Saccio's Great Courses, and man this dude is a total ham-- definitely breaks the advice Conner gives to read Shakespeare's lines without affectation of voice! But I liked his zero ambiguity argument against the anti-Stratfordians as he calls them, and his insights are good-- but not as useful as Conner's, at least so far. I already have his book lined up for when I finish rereading all the history plays, so I'm eager to listen to the lectures focused on these especially

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#110 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:25 pm

Twelfth Night was another great comedy, with wonderfully dark humor in drunken shenanigans and manipulations of Malvolio generously sharing the time with the main romantic plot. The fool was a nice departure from the wise fool in King Lear, engaging in more word games and silly spitfire dialogue than the provocative directionless existentialism of the fool in the tragedy. This leads to less removed introspection and more participation in the fun dynamics between all characters who seem to all get a chance to interact with each other, showcasing their distinctive personalities as they have opportunities to bounce themselves off of various others’ to great comic effect in sociological interest. Don’t get me wrong, I actually prefer the Lear fool, but it was nice to see the Bard not only refuse to repeat himself here but find an opposite approach to characterize a similar role.

I watched the 1970 TV adaptation with Alec Guinness and Ralph Richardson, and was quite underwhelmed. I expected more from both actors, though they both played serviceable players. I wasn’t thrilled with the other actors and Joan Plowright felt completely out of place. I’m curious to give the Nunn adaption from the 90s a go- does anyone here like it?

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#111 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:39 pm

I've seen several great live performances of Twelfth Night -- but have not loved any filmed/taped versions so far.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#112 Post by zedz » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:27 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:21 pm
Yellow Sky (the Tempest) is undoubtedly eligible despite being based on a book no one’s ever heard of
I'm only just starting to think about this mini-project, but this prompted me to suggest The Man from Laramie as an adaptation of King Lear: partly the main plot, but more the Gloucester / Edgar / Edmund bits. Eligible? (If so, it might top my list.)

A couple of likely contenders for my list that I don't think have been mentioned yet:

Hamlet (Gade / Schall, 1921) - An adaptation indebted to bonkers theories of the time that Hamlet was actually a woman. It works surprisingly well, carried almost entirely by Asta Nielsen's excellent title performance.

Caesar Must Die (The Taviani Brothers, 2012) - The best thing they've done for decades, as far as I can tell. A bunch of hardened criminals rehearse a production of Julius Caesar in a maximum security prison, and realize how much it's a commentary on their real life situation.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#113 Post by zedz » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:58 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:45 pm
I've liked several live performances of Twelfth Night I've been to far better than any filmed version I've seen.

I also find Titus Andronicus utterly awful. ;-)
I saw a performance of Twelfth Night by the RSC, starring Antony Sher as Malvolio, at Stratford back in the 80s, which is probably the best Shakespeare production I've ever seen, and it was absolutely hilarious. So I know it's his funniest play, even though the other productions I've seen since haven't remotely measured up. I saw another RSC production of it a few years later, directed by Griff Rhys Jones, where it was framed as an 18th century farce, and was completely leaden from go to whoa. Witless mugging-a-go-go.

Titus Andronicus is not a good play, but I did once see a production of it that worked really well. It's basically an Elizabethan splatter movie, and the more a production embraces that and doesn't strive to dress it up as high culture, the more successful it's likely to be.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#114 Post by swo17 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:43 am

Oh yeah, that Tavianis film is great

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#115 Post by roujin » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:43 am

Would like to make mention of Vishal Bhardwaj's Shakespeare Trilogy - 2003's Maqbool (Macbeth), 2006's Omkara (Othello) and 2014's Haider (Hamlet). Very powerful works - the last in particular is interesting right now because it takes place in Kashmir and is explicitly about that conflict.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#116 Post by knives » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:52 am

Lucky coincidence I was planning on watching Haider today.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#117 Post by ando » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:55 am

And it's [Haider] streaming on Netflix, thank goodness (was tough finding a version w/English subs). Thanks, roujin.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#118 Post by Shrew » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:06 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:25 pm
Twelfth Night was another great comedy, with wonderfully dark humor in drunken shenanigans and manipulations of Malvolio generously sharing the time with the main romantic plot. The fool was a nice departure from the wise fool in King Lear, engaging in more word games and silly spitfire dialogue than the provocative directionless existentialism of the fool in the tragedy. This leads to less removed introspection and more participation in the fun dynamics between all characters who seem to all get a chance to interact with each other, showcasing their distinctive personalities as they have opportunities to bounce themselves off of various others’ to great comic effect in sociological interest. Don’t get me wrong, I actually prefer the Lear fool, but it was nice to see the Bard not only refuse to repeat himself here but find an opposite approach to characterize a similar role.

I watched the 1970 TV adaptation with Alec Guinness and Ralph Richardson, and was quite underwhelmed. I expected more from both actors, though they both played serviceable players. I wasn’t thrilled with the other actors and Joan Plowright felt completely out of place. I’m curious to give the Nunn adaption from the 90s a go- does anyone here like it?
I discussed the Nunn version of Twelfth Night earlier in the thread, but I think it’s hushed, self-serious “Shakespeare” wherein the directorial choices are actively trying to stifle the comedy. For instance, Malvolio’s reveal of his garters is shot like a horror film (or a comedy that’s trying way too hard—or are those the same thing!? *rimshot*).

Feste and Lear’s Fool (and Touchstone in As You Like It) were likely written for/played by the same actor, Robert Armin, who joined Shakespeare’s troupe around 1600. Hence their distinctness from the earlier rowdy clown-types.

Is anyone considering any silent Shakespeare? I’ve haven’t delved into the BFI/milestone set, but I expect most of those early performances are more of interest for their anthropological value. So while I expect most of us come to Shakespeare for the language, I will recommend two comic films by Lubitsch from 1920; each is less than an hour, so they’re good palate cleansers between the infinite Hamlets. Both were filmed in alpine villages, reportedly so Lubitsch could vacation there a la Adam Sandler. I’m not aware of any legit commercial releases, but they can be found in pretty decent quality on youtube.

Kohlhiesel’s Daughters (Lubitsch, 1920)
Technically based off an earlier play of the same name, this is still surely eligible for borrowing the basic framework of Taming of the Shrew: everyone wants to marry the nice younger sister (Gretel) but can’t until someone marries the rough and rude elder sister (Liesel). Here both sisters are played by Henny Porten, who gives two pretty clearly differentiated performances. There’s a bit of a class element thrown into the mix here, as Liesel’s uncouthness comes more from her rural upbringing milking cows and doing the menial housework, while Gretel serves as hostess in the family’s tavern and thus presents as more “middle-class” (she’s first introducing breaking open a piggy bank so she can buy a brooch from a traveling peddler).

Emil Jannings plays the Petruchio role, but here is goal is initially to marry Gretel. His friend, also vying for Gretel’s affections, convinces him to first marry Liesel and push her into a divorce, thus freeing Gretel from the paternal edict. But Janning’s tantrums (here thankfully focused on violence toward objects, not toward people) end up making him more attractive to Liesel. So it ends up being a much sweeter take on Shrew, where 20-century gender politics may not quite meet 21st-century standards, but are still easier to swallow than 16th-century norms. This isn’t up to the level of the other comedies included in the Lubitsch in Berlin sets, but it’s still Lubitsch comedy, which makes it a contender for a low spot on my list.

Apparently it’s also been remade a couple of other times in Germany, but I have no idea of the quality of those adaptations.

Romeo and Juliet in the Snow (Lubitsch, 1920)
A comic version of the tragedy, mainly poking fun at the petty feuds of provincial families. A good deal of the run time is taken up with the dolt of a Paris figure (played by Julius Falkenstein, who also played Josef in The Oyster Princess) and the “costume party,” making use of Lubitsch’s crowd-wrangling skills. There are also a good number of Lubitsch doors as the feuding families try to pen in their amorous children. Overall it’s even more a lark than the previous film, but I’d recommend watching at least for Romeo and Juliet’s trip to the town apothecary, which is some great silent deadpan.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#119 Post by knives » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:19 pm

As for silent Shakespeare there's a nice French version of Richard III I'm considering voting for that got talked up quite heavily in the first edition of the early cinema thread.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#120 Post by John Shade » Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:16 pm

This is a perfectly timed discussion for the start of a school year. (If anyone can add suggestions on how to easily access some of these performances for classroom settings, please post, send me a message, ...or maybe I missed that part of the thread)

I just happened to rewatch Branagh's Hamlet--it's probably the version that I've seen the most times due to its adherence to the text and easy availability for teaching. I think that it works on an overall level as an appealing piece, especially for students just experiencing the play for the first time. As a film, however, some moments have not aged well--Hamlet's first interaction with the ghost and the sudden teeth close-up (actually the whole scene is staged rather poorly), the unfortunately gratuitous flashbacks of Ophelia and Hamlet, the distracting cameos (esp Robin Williams), the terrible Batman Forever fencing suits...actually, the whole closing of the film is done rather unfortunately. Typically my students laugh at some of the moments near the very end. And yet I ultimately think it works because of the language and some moments of Branagh's performance.

Hopefully I can offer more in this thread (including a response to the earlier claim of Molière's superiority to Shakespeare !?!?).

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#121 Post by ando » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:52 pm

John Shade wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:16 pm
This is a perfectly timed discussion for the start of a school year. (If anyone can add suggestions on how to easily access some of these performances for classroom settings, please post, send me a message, ...or maybe I missed that part of the thread)
Most, if not all, of the BBC filmed plays are streaming through Amazon's Prime Video service with/or directly on Broadway HD. The subtitle option on all the films is handy. Good luck.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#122 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:16 pm

zedz wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:27 pm
I'm only just starting to think about this mini-project, but this prompted me to suggest The Man from Laramie as an adaptation of King Lear: partly the main plot, but more the Gloucester / Edgar / Edmund bits. Eligible? (If so, it might top my list.)
If this is eligible, it’d be near the top of mine as well, though I’d have to read King Lear again and focus more on that sideplot family dynamic, which would be a fun project.
zedz wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:27 pm
Caesar Must Die (The Taviani Brothers, 2012) - The best thing they've done for decades, as far as I can tell. A bunch of hardened criminals rehearse a production of Julius Caesar in a maximum security prison, and realize how much it's a commentary on their real life situation.
This was great as a meta-contextual study but I was surprisingly more intrigued by watching the prisoners actively engage in their practice than I was in any deep analysis. It was difficult to tell at times when they were acting and when they weren’t, though I suppose it was all acting to a degree with the presence of the cameras. The line readings tended to stop briefly and continue without any clear initiating signifier which blurred the layers further. Definitely a film that I’d like to see again with the play in hand to follow along next time, as identifying these breaks would probably highlight and uncover more of the self-reflexive moments within the context that I may have missed on a first viewing. A very humanizing work that allows us to see the prisoners as people of equal dignity and worth with a few more dimensions than most prison docs afford, which seemed to be the Tavianis’ primary intention here with the docudrama format.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#123 Post by domino harvey » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:26 pm

The Man From Laramie is eligible, but I’d encourage any potential voters to think long and hard about what a Shakespeare adaptation even means to you if you’re considering topping your list with a movie that resembles Shakespeare like La Croix resembles Sunkist

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#124 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:48 pm

I’m throwing any hope at a consistent criteria to the wind on this one, considering my current top five ranges from faithful to loose to broad to the sand-falling-between-the-fingers of Godard.

Though I’ll admit that I struggle to see enough of The Tempest in Yellow Sky, and unless I make time for a concurrent revisit of the text and film together to determine any solid analysis linking the two I probably won’t be comfortable placing it on my final list, and the same would go for the Mann. I suppose that’s my abstract barometer right there.

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Re: Shakespeare Adaptations Mini-List Discussion + Suggestions

#125 Post by knives » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:51 pm

The Wellman is a pretty strong and obvious connection. About as much as Jubal to Othello and far more than the Mann.

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