Comparing the Opening Sections of Kenneth Branagh's and Franco Zeffirelli's Film Versions of Hamlet

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Comparing the Opening Sections of Kenneth Branagh's and Franco Zeffirelli's Film Versions of Hamlet

So exactly why is it that Hamlet is still so popular with our modern day audiences when it was written for the naïve audiences of the 17th century? Personally I believe this is because Hamlet deals with many fresh issues including corruption, love and the supernatural, which still appeal to contemporary audiences. These issues are also present in many films made recently e.g. 'The Exorcist,' 'The Others' and 'Sixth Sense' all these films are also popular. Shakespeare's Hamlet is a play filled with revenge, ambition and faithlessness. It was written in the 17th century though Shakespeare set it long
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At the very beginning of Branagh's version the viewers see the words 'William Shakespeare's' in a Bold, prominent red, which stands out against the black background. I think Branagh has used red because red has connotations with blood, murder and killing, and black with death and misery. Then we see the title 'Hamlet' which all together reads 'William Shakespeare's Hamlet'. This is a clever way to introduce the play and is quite dramatic with good impact, it also suggests his version will stay very true and close to Shakespeare's true text. The camera pans from right to left across the word 'Hamlet'. This is unusual as we read left to right; this gives the beginning an interesting start. The word is engraved in a stone plinth, which looks like the bottom of a gravestone, in what seems like a traditional old English font typical to the era of the play. I think Branagh has done this purposely to quickly set the mood of the play. As the camera lifts off the word Hamlet we see there is blue lighting across the driveway. I think he has used blue because blue gives the impression of a bleak, frosty, eerie night. There is no music or dialogue yet but the viewers can hear a bell tolling midnight, this is pathetic fallacy because midnight is associated with the inexplicable, mysterious and miraculous. We can also hear owls hooting, faint dogs barking
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