By Samuel Crowl
“Generous-spirited and eloquent.”
John Andrews, The Guild Shakespeare
“An important critical link from the literary Shakespeare to the actor’s Shakespeare.”
The Reader’s Review
“This now well-established field of performance criticism will be enhanced by Crowl’s commendable narrative.”
Samuel Crowl's Shakespeare at the Cineplex: The Kenneth Branagh Era is the first thorough exploration of the fifteen major Shakespeare films released since the surprising success of Kenneth Branagh's Henry V (1989). Crowl presents the rich variety of these films in the “long decade: between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.” The productions range from Hollywood-saturated films such as Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet and Michael Hoffman's A Midsummer Night's Dream to more modest, experimental offerings, such as Christine Edzard's As You Like It. Now available in paperback, Shakespeare at the Cineplex will be welcome reading for fans, students, and scholars of Shakespeare in performance.
Trustee Professor of English at Ohio University, Samuel Crowl is the author of Shakespeare Observed: Studies in Performance on Stage and Screen as well as numerous essays, articles, reviews, and interviews on aspects of Shakespeare in performance. He has lectured widely on Shakespeare at universities and conferences.
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Shakespeare is a central shaping and defining figure in our culture. His plays are being taught, filmed, and performed every day in many places and in most of the world's languages. At the same time, teachers and students from junior high through the early undergraduate years often struggle with the Bard in discomfort and negativity that can only be counter-productive. Teaching Shakespeare into the Twenty-First Century is by teachers and for teachers.
Shakespeare in Production examines a number of plays in context. Included are the 1936 Romeo and Juliet, unpopular with critics of filmed Shakespeare, but very much a “photoplay” if its time; the opening sequences of filmed Hamlets which span more than seventy years; The Comedy of Errors on television, where production of this script is almost impossible; and the Branagh Much Ado About Nothing, a “popular” film discussed in the context of comedy as a genre.
The aesthetics of frame theory form the basis of Framing Shakespeare on Film. This groundbreaking work expands on the discussion of film constructivists in its claim that the spectacle of Shakespeare on film is a problem-solving activity. Kathy Howlett demonstrates convincingly how viewers' expectations for understanding Shakespeare on film can be manipulated by the director's cinematic technique.
Hamlet has inspired four outstanding film adaptations that continue to delight a wide and varied audience and to offer provocative new interpretations of Shakespeare’s most popular play. Cinematic Hamlet contains the first scene-by-scene analysis of the methods used by Laurence Olivier, Franco Zeffirelli, Kenneth Branagh, and Michael Almereyda to translate Hamlet into highly distinctive and remarkably effective films.