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Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando

The Film's the Thing: Shakespeare on Film

Shakespeare on Screen kicks off with Romeo + Juliet (20th Century Fox)

This fall Shakespeare moves from the stage to the screen with The Film's the Thing: Shakespeare on Screen, MoPAs first Shakespeare film series. Enjoy a quartet of bold adaptations of Shakespeare. From the street gangs of Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet to a samurai Macbeth ; from bit players in the wings observing the melancholy Dane to Richard III recast as a 1930s Warner Brothers gangster, these films reveal the diverse inspiration Shakespeare has provided to filmmakers.

The series begins Thurs., Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park with Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet. Acclaimed actress Diane Venora , who plays Lady Capulet (here rechristened Gloria Capulet), will introduce the film and then hold a Q&A after the screening.


Beth Accomando
September 18, 2007 at 08:48 AM
I would love to find out what your favorite Shakespeare adaptations are. Here are some other ideas for future Shakespeare on Screen films: Orson Welles' Shakespeare: Macbeth, Othello, Chimes at Midnight Peripheral Shakespeare: Looking for Richard, Theater of Blood, Shakespeare Wallah, A Midwinter's Tale Variations on a theme: Polanski's Macbeth, Scotland, PA, Joe Macbeth Franco Zeffirelli: Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Otello The Henry Cycle of plays from the BBC TV The Shakespeare Plays. Like any of these ideas? Got any better suggestions? -----

Hungry Hank
September 18, 2007 at 07:38 PM
For future festivals, I'd suggest 10 Things I Hate About You, which is an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew. Like Romeo + Juliet, it skews to a younger audience and is a good way to introduce the essence of Shakespeare to people who may not initially enjoy the beauty of his writing as originally presented.

September 19, 2007 at 06:11 PM
wow...has zeffirelli made that many shakespeare films...he has practically a whole festival program unto himself. hmmm... off the top of my head i would have to say greenaway's 'prosperos books', which may be a bit of a cheat but even though its not a straight up shakespeare it captures the spirit of shakespeare's linguistic feast better than most more reverential interpretations. my next choice would have been 'rosencrantz and guildenstern' for much the same reasons. ones i havent seen yet and have high hopes for are: derek jarman's 'the tempest' and roman polanski's macbeth.

forrest batson
September 19, 2007 at 07:47 PM
I would love to see Kurosawa's RAN in your second series. A true masterpiece of cinema! I look forward to watching Throne Of Blood. :)


September 19, 2007 at 08:16 PM
After seeing this I had to jump on youtube and enjoy a few scenes from the various Shakespeare films. Kenneth Branagh's St. Crispin Day Speech from Henry V gives me chills every time I see it and his scenes with Emma Thompson are some of the most romantic I've scene. Much ado about nothing is a favorite to.

September 19, 2007 at 09:30 PM
There are so many to chose from so hard to know where to start. I am very fond of the early Branagh adaptations. Henry V and Much Ado are fantastic. I love that moment in Much Ado when the men return from the war riding over the Tuscan hillside like the Magnificent 7 with Denzel Washinton looking resplendent at the helm. It's a great moment. I'm also a big fan of Patrick Doyle's music scoring. He started as an actor in Branagh's stag company, Renaissance, wrote the music for these and other Branagh movies and has gone on to do a ton of other great things like Sense and Sensibility and Bridget Jones Diary. I'm really looking forward to this season of movies as MOPA. Let there by many more such events.

Susan Abernethy
September 19, 2007 at 11:48 PM
There are many, many excellent Shakespeare films out there, but I shall always be partial to my first one-- the 1952 Julius Caesar with James Mason, Marlon Brando and John Gielgud, with the wonderful Miklos Rosza music. Classic performances!!

September 20, 2007 at 12:11 AM
While my favorite Shakespeare adaptation is "Throne of Blood," my single favorite moment in any Shakespeare-related film is the closing shot of "Shakespeare in Love," which depicts the opening of "Twelfth Night" -- I'll just say that the impact of this shot is completely lost on TV; you have to see it on the big screen. One of my all-time favorite films happens to be Shakespeare-related: the 1956 MGM classic "Forbidden Planet" is loosely based on themes and concepts from "The Tempest." And while it's not a film, one of my favorite science fiction variations on Shakespeare is the Star Trek episode "Conscience of the King." Not only is the plot based on certain portions of "Hamlet," but there's actually an intergalactic Shakespeare performing troupe that comes onboard the Enterprise to stage a production of "Hamlet" for the crew! And on the subject of science fiction adaptations of Shakespeare, does anyone remember "Romy-0 and Julie-8," the animated film that played out the Romeo and Juliet story with robots? I remember seeing it once or twice on TV as a kid, and always wanted to find out more about it.

G. Rappaport
September 20, 2007 at 12:24 AM
The best overall for quality, thrill, visual splendor, language, and characterization was Olivier's Henry V. (Far truer to the play and to Shakespeare than the bloody and muddy Branagh version.)

September 20, 2007 at 09:28 AM
For its beauty and boldness, its color and composition, its audacity and passion. For Leonardo DiCaprio and Young Hearts Run Free. But above all, for its ability to get a crowd of 15 year old wannabe gangsters into a classroom and sit enthralled for two hours. I love it! It has to be Baz Luhmanns Romeo and Juliet.

September 20, 2007 at 05:24 PM
Some of the early silent adaptations make fascinating viewing (the first being as early as 1899), not only as examples of pioneering film, but also as a record of dramatic style of that era. The British Film Institute has produced a dvd called 'Silent Shakespeare' with a number of productions from the 1900s.

David S. Cohen
September 21, 2007 at 12:47 PM
I really love the last Olivier Shakespeare film, his television production if 'King Lear' made when he was already debilitated by a muscle disease and unable physically to commit to the rigors of the part onstage--but he could do it for TV with an incredible cast of some of the very greatest British actors--Leo McKern as Gloucester, Robert Lindsay as Edmund, Diana Rigg as Regan, John Hurt as Fool, Colin Blaskesley as Kent, Anna Calder-Marshall as Cordelia. It is set in a very early pagan Britain with Stonehenge-like monoliths and the irascibility and vulnerability of the old king, esp in his scenes with the blind Gloucester and a mad scene where he kills a rabbit with his teeth---require a viewing every so often to be reminded of how deep Shakespeare can go when the language is a springboard to emotional truth.

Beth Accomando
September 22, 2007 at 09:20 AM
Thanks to everyone who has posted and reminded me of all the wonderful Shakespeare films out there. An extra special thanks to those who attended R&J and supported the Shakespeare on Screen series. To those of you who missed the event, it was quite an event. Romeo wooed Juliet in the atrium of MoPA and Diane Venora dazzled us with her passion for Shakespeare and her exquisite craft as an actress. Be listening to These Days on Tuesday for my interview with Sir Ian McKellan as we discuss his adaptation of Richard III.

Claire Hsu Accomando
September 22, 2007 at 05:54 PM
I just saw Romeo+Juliet and enjoyed it very much. After wards,the session with Diane Venora was fascinating. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. It was very interesting to find out that the mansion of the Capulets was actually the residence of the Governor in Mexico.I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the program.

Allan Accomando
September 22, 2007 at 06:06 PM
My three favorite Shakespeare MOVIES are: Polanski's Macbeth, Zeffereli's (spelling?)Romeo and Juliet and Taming of the Shrew with Burton and his shrewish wife Liz Taylor. Incidentally, a big favorite of mine as a PLAY is Richard III, but Olivier's production of it is awful. He turns a fascinating villian Richard into a bore. Allan

Sally Stockton
September 23, 2007 at 04:20 AM
"favorite" Shakespeare movies in this household: Henry V - 1945 - Olivier Romeo and Juliet - 1968 - Zeffirelli Twelfth Night - 1996 - Trevor Nunn

September 27, 2007 at 01:14 AM
I love SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. It offers such a beautiful example of ACTING Shakespeare, and of actors at work... in small measure, true, but lovely all the same. Branagh's HAMLET is amazing and understandable. I really respond to his work with text. I believe he makes it very accessible to modern audiences. Olivier's HAMLET is great, absolutely. For those of us old enough to remember him, none better. AND, realistically, today's young people respond more quickly and fully to color, action, etc. Zefferelli's R & J is still loved by teens. In my experience as a high school teacher, students enjoy it more than Luhrmann's. Ann

September 27, 2007 at 01:16 AM
Ohhh... I was unable to make the Venora presentation at MOPA but I did see her as HAMLET back in the early 80s at the Public! Brava!