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Hamlet: Zeffirelli vs. Branagh Essay

Decent Essays
To play one of Shakespeare’s most complex roles successfully on stage or on screen has been the aspiration of many actors. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet has been the focus on various accounts throughout the 20th Century, each actor attempting to bring something unique and unmarked to the focal character. Franco Zeffirelli and Kenneth Branagh, both film directors, introduce varying levels of success on the screen through downright differences in ways of translation and original ideas. Zeffirelli’s much shorter interpretation of the film is able to convey the importance of Hamlet as a masterwork by using modern approaches to film but still capturing the traditional work behind Shakespeare’s well-known play.
Zeffirelli’s 1990 “Hamlet”
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The entire scenery throughout this movie is very appropriate and what one would expect to see during Shakespearean time. Similarly, the costumes are also in sync with the scenery, at times appear very heavy and dull looking; everything about the presence of this movie emerges to be traditional at first glance.
Kenneth Branagh’s interpretation of Hamlet emphasized different importance's of the play. His version differs from that of Zeffirelli’s because; he makes use of the entire text from Shakespeare’s original work. Branagh also does not hold the time period authentic. Although his version of the play was not altered as much as Zeffirelli’s, he is still able to hold the attention of modern critics and viewers. However, by transfiguring the play into a Victorian background, Branagh’s film completely alters the mindset and feel of a true Shakespearean play.
The opening scene (1.1.1) of Branagh’s movie is when Hamlet gives his monologue, the lighting at this point is very bright and the camera is slanted vertically. Hamlet is acted out as a very angered character; he leans his weight into a chair, trying to hold back, but eventually collapses dramatically. The camera is approached from the back of him, and his dark clothing makes him pop out to the rest of the brightly colored audience. As this scene
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