A Comparison of Olivier and Branagh's Adaptations of Henry V Essays

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A Comparison of Olivier and Branagh's Adaptations of Henry V

Media Comparative Essay: (in the medium of film) concerning the 2 well known film versions of Shakespeare’s Henry V of Olivier (1944) and Branagh (1989) in the specific scenes of “A Little Touch of Harry in the Night” and “The Crispin Crispian Speech”

A comparison of these scenes in the two film versions of Henry V indicated above in a discussion of all the major cinematic issues in integrating a story like Shakespeare’s and to include some discussion of the relative success in conveying to a cinema audience the director’s message.

“…We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my
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Laurence Olivier directed and starred in it himself as a patriotic call to the barricades. Olivier greatly aspired to become one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century. His attempt in the role of the main character ‘Henry’ was nothing short of this by delivering an epic performance in the midst of a gay, colourful depiction of battle. Kenneth Branagh’s production (1989) attempted greater realism in the battle scenes and focused more on Henry’s inner conflicts. There was not as much emphasis on the patriotic elements of the play as in Olivier’s. Branagh’s film was constructed many years after Olivier’s predominant original – when it was considered a classic. Olivier created a total advance in Shakespearean film and gave dawn to colour filming. A young Branagh would have to direct and act admirably to stand alongside the preceding version. He would have to successfully comply as a Shakespearean actor to “take the familiar and make it new”. Branagh heavily scrutinised Olivier’s epic work, employing and enhancing many of the methods Olivier inspired and developed, causing Branagh’s film to be labelled sometimes as an emulation. Still there is an obvious (yet often subtle) extent to which Branagh tries

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