Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Second Year Of Shakespeare Study

For those who don't already know, I'm reading all of Shakespeare's plays (and then his poems and sonnets). I started last year, and I've been reading one play a month (so this will take more than three years), and then reading related books and watching film versions. This year was mostly the histories. Here is a list of the plays that I read, as well as related books that I read and films that I watched, and of course plays I attended.

January: Measure For Measure
Related Books:
- Measure For Measure by Harriett Hawkins
- Twentieth Century Interpretations Of Measure For Measure edited by George L. Geckle
- Shakespeare: Measure For Measure by Nigel Alexander
Film Versions:
- Measure For Measure (1979) with Kenneth Colley, Kate Nelligan, Tim Pigott-Smith, John McEnery; directed by Desmond Davis.

February: The First Part Of King Henry The Sixth
Film Versions:

- The First Part Of King Henry The Sixth (1983) with Peter Benson, Trevor Peacock, David Burke; directed by Jane Howell. This film has some great moments, but it suffers from a terribly miscast Brenda Blethyn as Joan of Arc. She's just horrible. And Peter Benson is two decades too old to be playing the young King Henry VI. Every time he mentions his young age, it comes off as a joke. Also, way too many of the lines are said as asides. On the positive side, Trevor Peacock is really good as Lord Talbot.
- An Age Of Kings Part Nine: The Red Rose And The White (1960) directed by Michael Hayes; this is the ninth part of a fifteen-part series that covers Richard II through Richard III; this episode has an odd moment with Eileen Atkins as Joan of Arc, where she is in extreme close-up, and in her eyes is the image of a dancer; the play is heavily cut - down to an hour.

March: The Second Part Of King Henry The Sixth Related Books:
- The Wars Of The Roses by Hubert Cole (about the wars during the reign of King Henry The Sixth, though these continued through that of Richard III as well)
Film Versions:
- The Second Part Of King Henry The Sixth (1983) with Peter Benson, David Burke, Paul Chapman, Julia Foster; directed by Jane Howell. This film has some great performances, particularly by David Burke as Gloucester and Anne Carroll as his wife, and also Bernard Hill as York. Trevor Peacock, who played Talbot in the First Part, plays Jack Cade, and he's excellent. The only weak performance is that by Julia Foster as Queen Margaret - she's always at one level, finding few nuances.
- An Age Of Kings Part Ten: The Fall Of A Protector (1960) with Terry Scully and John Ringham; directed by Michael Hayes; this is the tenth part of a fifteen-part series that covers Richard II through Richard III; this episode covers the first two acts and the first scene of the third act.
- An Age Of Kings Part Eleven: The Rabble From Kent (1960) with Terry Scully and Mary Morris; directed by Michael Hayes.

April: The Third Part Of King Henry The Sixth
Related Books:

- Rose Rage adapted by Edward Hall and Roger Warren (An adaptation of the three Henry VI plays in two parts)
- Henry VI by Bertram Wolffe (This is actually not based on Shakespeare's play, but is rather a biography of Henry VI)
Film Versions:
- The Third Part Of King Henry The Sixth (1983) with Peter Benson, Julia Foster, Ron Cook; directed by Jane Howell. This production is excellent. And Julia Foster's performance this time round as Queen Margaret totally works. She's fantastic in this one. The staging, the lighting, the shot composition - everything in this production is wonderful.
- An Age Of Kings Part Twelve: The Morning's War (1960) with Julian Glover and Paul Daneman; directed by Michael Hayes; this is the twelfth part of a fifteen-part series that covers Richard II through Richard III; this episode covers the first two acts and the first two scenes of Act III.
- An Age Of Kings Part Thirteen: The Sun In Splendour (1960) with Mary Morris and Julian Glover; directed by Michael Hayes.

May: The Tragedy Of Richard The Third
Related Books:

- King Richard III: Shakespeare In Performance by Hugh M. Richmond (published in 1989)
- The African Company Presents Richard III by Carlyle Brown (a play set in 1821 about a group of people putting on Richard The Third)
- The Daughter Of Time by Josephine Tey (a mystery novel which looks into whether Richard III really was as he's been portrayed, and if someone else didn't kill the princes in the tower)
Film Versions:
- The Tragedy Of Richard The Third (1983) with Ron Cook, Rowena Cooper, Julia Foster and Zoe Wannamaker; directed by Jane Howell. This is the best of all the Shakespeare films I've watched so far. The acting is superb. The staging and blocking are perfect. For example, the scene where Margaret is cursing the Queen, it is staged so that Richard is between them, but in the background. As he listens to Margaret's various curses, you can almost see him thinking, "Okay, yes, that will come to pass. And that." There are moments that are really funny, and there are moments that are chilling. Julia Foster is magnificent as Margaret. Ron Cook is incredible as Richard The Third. The dream sequence was done wonderfully, and in a really imaginative way. And the end of the battle was just fucking awesome. The tableau at the end is mind-blowing. Seriously, if you get the chance, you should watch this film. It is just under four hours, and it flew by.
- An Age Of Kings Part Fourteen: The Dangerous Brother (1960) with Paul Daneman and Patrick Garland; directed by Michael Hayes; this is the fourteenth part of fifteen-part series that covers Richard II through Richard III; this episode covers the first two acts and the first scene of Act III.
- An Age Of Kings Part Fifteen: The Boar Hunt (1960) with Paul Daneman and Jill Dixon; directed by Michael Hayes; this is the final part of the series; this is really good, though I didn't appreciate some of the cuts. For example, Act IV Scene IV is cut almost entirely, so we lose all of Margaret's lines as well as that great moment between Richard and Elizabeth in which he woos for Elizabeth's daughter using many of the same tactics that won him Lady Anne.
- Richard III (1955) with Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud and Claire Bloom; directed by Laurence Olivier. This famous film version has a lot of great scenes, but suffers from some disastrous cuts. Queen Margaret is cut completely, which throws off the balance of the play. And thus gone too are all of the curses. How can you cut the curses, all of which of course come to pass? The curses bear on so many of the characters, all of whom become Richard's victims. Margaret is really the other strength of the play, Richard's opposition. She is greatly missed in this film version. There are a lot of other changes. This film begins with the coronation of Edward IV, a scene taken from The Third Part Of King Henry The Sixth. The incredible Lady Anne scene is also changed. Instead of the body of King Henry VI, she is mourning the death of her husband. The scene is cut after the line, "Your bed chamber." Then, a little later, after Clarence is shuttled off to the tower, the scene picks up again. Claire Bloom as Lady Anne spits at Richard in both sections of the scene, which doesn't really work, for he only reacts to the second spitting. Also, the scene ends with Lady Anne actually kissing Richard when he tells her "Bid me farewell." When she leaves, he says the line about "Was ever woman in this humour won," but he'd already given the line "I'll have her, but I will not keep her long" after the first section of the scene. That's totally fucked, because it breaks up the rhyme. There are many other changes, including Mistress Shore's actual appearance (and one line) in the film - in the play she is alluded to, but not present. Cut from the film is all the great dialogue between the murderers. Missing also from the film is that fantastic scene where Richard woos for Elizabeth's daughter. Toward the end, the ghosts that visit Richard in his sleep were cut from eleven to five. Cut completely is when the ghosts visit Richmond. A much worse cut is when Richard wakes from his nightmare. Gone are the wonderful lines when Richard has an extended fearful conversation with himself - the "What? do I fear myself? there's none else by" bit. That is a necessary moment, for it shows that Richard is completely unraveling, that his confidence has evaporated before going into battle. Another problem is that the sun is clearly shining before and during the battle - after the scene where they discuss how the sun will not shine that day. Gone too are the final lines of the play. Still, there are some great performances here, particularly Ralph Richardson as Buckingham and John Gielgud as Clarence. And there is a lot of interesting work with shadows. There are lots of wide shots in the film, and I would have liked more closeups during key moments. Still, there are some really well structured shots, as when the young prince first sits on the throne.
- Richard III (1995) with Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent; directed by Richard Loncraine. This adaptation is set in the 1930s, and has an incredible cast which includes Nigel Hawthorne as Clarence, Tim McInnerny as Catesby, Kristin Scott Thomas as Lady Anne, and Maggie Smith as the Duchess of York. This film, like Olivier's, cuts Margaret completely (though a few of her lines are given to Maggie Smith), but for some reason her absense isn't as bothersome to me as it is in the earlier film. There are some interesting changes and touches, some good, some not so good. Ian McKellen says the line "Your bed chamber" as an aside, so Lady Anne doesn't hear it - an interesting choice. Tyrell is given a much more significant part. Mistress Shore is never mentioned, so the scene in which Richard turns on Hastings doesn't really work. Also, the "bear me on your shoulders" bit with the princes isn't done right. Only one prince is involved, and it comes off as harmless playing rather than a possibly intentional jab. So we don't see the princes as witty and intelligent. Another problem is the scene in which Buckingham asks for a moment to think about whether the princes should be killed. When he comes back, instead of giving his consent, he immediately demands that Richard fulfill his promises to him. This doesn't make sense at all. He has to answer Richard regarding the princes. And then, to make it worse, we don't have that scene where Buckingham realizes he's doomed if he doesn't escape. Another change is the addition of the marriage of Richmond and Elizabeth. This scene is inserted before the battle. The nightmare is done as voices, not as apparitions, and again, it's only Richard who is visited, not Richmond. But when Richard wakes, we do have that great frightened speech where he calls himself a murderer, which Olivier had cut. This film also includes the scene where Richard woos for Elizabeth - a scene that was cut from An Age Of Kings and from Olivier's Richard III. And it's an excellent scene - probably Annette Bening's best scene in the entire film.

June: The Tragedy Of King Richard The Second
Related Books:

- Twentieth Century Interpretations Of Richard II edited by Paul M. Cubeta (published in 1971)
Film Versions:
- King Richard The Second (1978) with Derek Jacobi, John Gielgud, Jon Finch, Wendy Hiller, Charles Gray; directed by David Giles. This production never fully drew me in, though there are some really good performances. John Gielgud is of course excellent. Derek Jacobi played Richard as a bit of a queen, which was odd, and it weakened the impact of the scene near the end where he is forcibly parted from the queen. But he was absolutely phenomenal in the deposition scene. That was by far the best scene of the film. Richard Owens did a bit of overacting as Mowbray, but he's in the play only briefly. Oddly, they cut out the end of the gardener's scene, after the queen has exited - so we're missing the whole bit about rue and ruth. The other problem with this production is the lighting. The entire thing is so dark. And there are many poorly composed shots. At one point it seems like someone bumped the camera. Why didn't they do another take?
- An Age Of Kings Part One: The Hollow Crown (1960) with David William, Edgar Wreford, Tom Fleming; directed by Michael Hayes; this is the first part of a fifteen-part series that covers Richard The Second through Richard The Third; this episode covers the first two acts and the first two scenes of the third act; cut are Mowbray's lines about how his tongue will no longer be useful due to his banishment; also, Act I Scene II is cut entirely, and thus is cut the Duchess of Gloucester; there are some awkward camera movements in both the Bolingbroke/Mowbray scene and the Gaunt/Bolingbroke scene; Sean Connery plays Percy, the role Jeremy Bulloch played in the 1978 film.
- An Age Of Kings Part Two: The Deposing Of A King (1960) with Tom Fleming, George A. Cooper, David William; directed by Michael Hayes.

July: The Life And Death Of King John
Film Versions:

- The Life & Death Of King John (1984) with Leonard Rossiter, Claire Bloom, George Costigan, Mary Morris; directed by David Giles. There is some great stuff in this production, but it's uneven. The least effective element by far is the dull blinking boy who plays Arthur. Seriously, if you took a sip of alcohol each time the boy blinked, you'd be drunk halfway through his first scene. Even after his character has died, he's still trying to blink. Claire Bloom must have been so frustrated acting with him. George Costigan is excellent as Phillip the Bastard. And of course Claire Bloom is wonderful, particularly during that famous speech with the cardinal (perhaps partly because the boy isn't in that scene).

August: The First Part Of King Henry The Fourth
Related Books:

- Henry IV Part One: Shakespeare In Performance by Scott McMillin (focuses on performances from 1945, 1951, 1964, 1975 and 1986, as well as on Chimes At Midnight and the BBC production; published in 1991)
- With The Rogue's Company: Henry IV At The National Theatre by Bella Merlin (Not very well written, this book chronicles the rehearsal period of a production of both parts of King Henry The Fourth, focusing mainly on the first part; that production starred Michael Gambon as Falstaff and Matthew Macfadyen as Prince Hal; published in 2005.)
- Henry IV by Bryan Bevan (This is a biography of Henry IV, with several references to Shakespeare's plays; published in 1994)
- Falstaff: Being The Acta Domini Johannis Fastolfe, Or Life And Valiant Deeds Of Sir John Faustoff, Or The Hundred Days War, as Told By Sir John Fastolf, K.G., To His Secretaries William Worcester, Stephen Scrope, Fr. Brackley, Christopher Hanson, Luke Nanton, John Bussard, And Peter Basset by Robert Nye (This is a novel, told in the first person, mostly by Falstaff. The more Shakespeare you know, the more you'll enjoy this book, for it has references to many - if not all - of the plays. Those even slightly familiar with Shakespeare will recognize many of the lines. For example, on page 346 he writes, "...there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy." And on page 330 he writes, "Because we are suddenly become virtuous, shall there be no more cakes and ales?" And on page 363 he writes, "I think for Hal the whole world was a stage, and all the men and women merely players." Throughout the book, but particularly on page 202, are references to the female characters in Shakespeare's plays, such as Imogen, Juliet, Titania and Beatrice. This book also contains references to John Oldcastle on page 144 and page 352. There are many references to the chimes at midnight. Of course, the largest section of the book deals with the events told in The First Part Of King Henry The Fourth. The "honour" speech is on page 240, though in this novel Falstaff says it to Prince Thomas. The robbery is described in several ways on pages 259 through 267. Published in 1976.)
- The Fortunes Of Falstaff by J. Dover Wilson (This book was first published in 1943, so it's easy to understand the inclusion of the line, "...while the Germans glorify war, we have always preferred to joke about it" - page 83.)
Film Versions:
- The Globe Theatre Presents Henry IV Part 1 (2010) On August 1, 2011, several movie theatres across the country held a screening of this filmed play. I caught it at the Century 8 Theatre in North Hollywood. The film also included interviews with some of the cast and a look at the design of the Globe. The production was really good. Roger Allam as Falstaff and Jamie Parker as Prince Hal gave excellent performances. I laughed out loud quite a few times during the film.
- The First Part Of King Henry The Fourth, With The Life And Death Of Henry Surnamed Hotspur (1979) with Jon Finch, Anthony Quayle, David Gwillim, Tim Piggot-Smith and Clive Swift; directed by David Giles. This version has some seriously weak moments near the beginning, such as Falstaff mumbling through his first scene and Hal thinking his first monologue aloud to himself rather than delivering it to the audience (which just doesn't work). But then it settles down, and has some excellent performances, particularly Tim Pigott-Smith as Hotspur. Also, I really came to love Anthony Quayle as Falstaff. I really felt for the guy. The major problems with this version are inadequate lighting and some poorly shot fight sequences. But the performances are more important, and they are mostly really good.
- An Age Of Kings Part Three: Rebellion From The North (1960) with Tom Fleming, Robert Hardy, Frank Pettingell and Sean Connery; directed by Michael Hayes; this is the third part of a fifteen-part series that covers Richard The Second through Richard The Third; this episode covers the first two acts of The First Part Of King Henry The Fourth. Sean Connery does the bit where Hotspur has a bit of trouble getting out the letter W, though maybe it's just when followed by an O, because he says "wife's" without trouble in Act I, Scene 3, line 144, as well as "west" and other W words. But he says "but yet a woman" with ease to Kate in Act II scene 3, line 102. So is it only in the presence of men? Prince Hal makes fun of his stutter in Act II Scene 4. Robert Hardy is excellent as Prince Hal. And Sean Connery is really good as Hotspur. There aren't too many cuts in this production, though the end of Act II Scene 1 is cut. One interesting choice is that those men who are robbed remain onstage to watch Hal and Poins rob Falstaff; in fact, the scene ends with a push-in on them, so they're well aware of just who has robbed them, and who has robbed the robbers. This helps with the later scene when the Sheriff arrives to search for Falstaff. This is a really good production.
- An Age Of Kings Part Four: The Road To Shrewsbury (1960) with Sean Connery, Geoffrey Bayldon, Tom Fleming, Robert Hardy and Frank Pettingell; directed by Michael Hayes; this is the fourth part of a fifteen-part series that covers Richard The Second through Richard The Third. Sean Connery sometimes does the stuttering on the letter W, and sometimes doesn't. He is able to say "word" with ease in Act III Scene 1 and again in Act IV Scene 1, but has trouble saying "worse" in Act IV Scene 1. And of course he has trouble at the end, so Hal can finish his sentence, "For worms." (Note: In Bryan Bevan's biography of Henry IV, he writes, "Hotspur retorted, lapsing into a stammer, characteristic of him when angry" - p.98.) A lot of Act III Scene 3 is cut, including Falstaff's "O I do not like this paying back. 'Tis a double labor." In Act IV Scene 2 Falstaff rearranges his first lines of the scene. The scene ends with the line about finding linen on every hedge, so Prince Hal is cut from the scene. There is a weird cut when Douglas engages Falstaff - a sudden insert shot - and we don't see Falstaff fall. Then when Falstaff has risen, he says, "If I be not John Falstaff, then I be a Jack" rather than "If I be not Jack Falstaff, then am I a Jack." Tom Fleming has some great moments has Henry IV. Robert Hardy is a little uneven this time around as Prince Hal. Still, this is a good production.
- Falstaff (Chimes At Midnight) (1965) with Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, John Gielgud, Margaret Rutherford, Walter Chiari; directed by Orson Welles. This film is mostly The First Part Of King Henry The Fourth, but also a good chunk from the Second Part Of King Henry The Fourth, and just a few lines from Henry The Fifth. The pickpocket scene is moved to before Prince Hal and Falstaff's first scene together. Hal does his "I know you all" speech with Falstaff standing just behind him. The robbery scene is done during the day. It actually looks great, but doesn't really make sense, especially considering the whole Kendal green bit where Falstaff says it was so dark he couldn't see his hand before him. Orson Welles does the "honor" speech directly to Hal. The battle sequence is kind of great, and I love the early wide shot of Falstaff walking with everyone rushing past him. But the battle sequence goes on a bit long, before we even get to the important stuff between Hal and Hotspur.
- My Own Private Idaho (1991) with River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, William Richert, Udo Kier; directed by Gus Van Sant. This is an odd adaptation of The First Part Of King Henry The Fourth, where the Prince Hal character is playing at being a prostitute, but vows that when he turns twenty-one he will surprise everyone by suddenly maturing. Keanu Reeves plays Scott, the Hal character. William Richert plays Bob, the Falstaff character. And so just who is River Phoenix? Poins? Anyway, in Bob's first scene he says, "We have heard the chimes at midnight" (which is from The Second Part Of King Henry The Fourth, Act III, Scene ii, line 191). And when Scott wakes Bob, Bob goes into the bit about having his pocket picked - but instead of a ring, he claims that his drugs are missing. And he's being truthful; after all, we've just seen Scott and Mike (River Phoenix) with the drugs. Anyway, they then plan and commit the robbery. And we do get the scene afterwards where Bob does the whole 2 to 4 to 7 to 9 to 11 bit, with regards to how many attackers he fought off. Scott does the "I know you all" speech to himself, but Bob overhears him (basically the same as was done in Chimes At Midnight). Scott asks Bob how long it's been since he's seen his dick rather than his knees. Scott's father is the mayor, not king, and there is a reference to the Hotspur character, named Bill Davis in this film. But of course there is no war, so the Hotspur character isn't really a factor. And another problem is that the son of a mayor doesn't automatically become mayor upon the death of his father. There are entire scenes that have nothing to do with Henry IV. Then suddenly there are scenes that are completely straight out of the play, with a lot of the dialogue and everything. It's really kind of a mess. A lot of the film deals with Scott and Mike trying to track down Mike's mom - they even go to Rome (they don't find her). At the end Scott has inherited his money, and we get the scene where he denies knowing Bob (from The Second Part Of King Henry The Fourth). But there is no reason why Scott would have to turn from him. He's not king. Or even mayor. We get the mayor's death and Bob's death. But there is so little between Scott and Bob that we don't really get a sense of the importance of that relationship. Scott says early on that he loves Bob more than his parents. But we don't see it. In the credits is the line, "Additional dialogue by William Shakespeare," but Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson beat Gus Van Sant to that joke by nearly ten years. (By the way, the deleted scenes on the second disc include the scene in which both Bob and Scott play at being Scott's father, and Scott says "I will" in answer to "If you banish Bob Pigeon, you banish all the world" - not "I do, I will.")

September: The Second Part Of King Henry The Fourth
Related Books:

- Twentieth Century Interpretations Of Henry IV Part Two edited by David P. Young (a collection of critical essays published in 1968)
- A Critical Commentary On Shakespeare's King Henry IV Part 2 by Peter Hollindale (published in 1971)
Film Versions:
- The Second Part Of King Henry The Fourth Containing His Death And The Coronation Of King Henry The Fifth (1979) with Jon Finch, David Gwillim, Anthony Quayle; directed by David Giles. The induction is done as voice over, over the fight scenes from the end of The First Part. The beginning of Act II Scene iv - with the two drawers - is cut. Likewise is cut the end of Act II Scene iv, so we lose the bit where Bardolph calls Doll Tearsheet once again to Falstaff. Jon Finch is really good as King Henry IV, particularly in his "uneasy lies the head that wears a crown" speech and that entire scene. And the scene with him and David Gwillim as Prince Hal is fantastic. Ralph Michael is excellent as Chief Justice, and the scene with him and King Henry V near the end is perfect. I also loved the scene where Falstaff turns over his prisoner. Anthony Quayle has some wonderful moments as Falstaff, and you do really feel for him at the end. But this production also did a great job with making us feel that his being turned away was inevitable.
- An Age Of Kings Part Five: The New Conspiracy (1960) with Robert Hardy, Frank Pettingell, Angela Baddeley, Hermione Baddeley; directed by Michael Hayes. This is the fifth part of a fifteen-part series that covers Richard The Second through Richard The Third. This episode covers the first two acts of The Second Part Of King Henry The Fourth. It skips the induction completely. In Act I Scene i, when Morton says, "But, for my lord your son," he then hands Northumberland his son's sword, rather than Northumberland finishing the sentence. Northumberland's lines are cut. I could have done without the pie in the face of the extra during the mayhem at the attempt at Falstaff's arrest. But I love that the Lord Chief Justice has a certain fondness for Falstaff. He sounds amused when he says, "Now the lord lighten thee! Thou art a great fool" in Act II Scene i. Interestingly, it goes right from that to Scene iii, and then to Scene ii, so that Hal's first scene doesn't follow Falstaff's. But what this re-ordering does is allow the scene where Hal and Poins joke with Falstaff to follow directly after Hal's first scene. And the two drawers are included in this version. Also, in this version Doll Tearsheet knows Prince Hal and Poins are there, and that's what leads her to ask Falstaff, "Sirrah, what humour's the prince of?" So she's in on the joke, which is wonderful. This version also includes the end of Act II Scene iv when Bardolph returns to fetch Doll for Falstaff. And in fact, that's where this episode ends.
- An Age Of Kings Part Six: Uneasy Lies The Head (1960) with Robert Hardy, Tom Fleming, Frank Pettingell, Patrick Garland; directed by Michael Hayes. This is the sixth part of a fifteen-part series that covers Richard The Second through Richard The Third. This episode begins with the third act. There is some funny business with drinks in Act III Scene ii. But there are a lot of cuts in this production. Act IV Scene i is cut completely, so we're missing Westmoreland taking the schedule of grievances that Prince John refers to in Act IV Scene ii. The beginning of Act III Scene iii is cut, so we don't see Falstaff take his prisoner. Instead, Falstaff enters so that it continues straight from Scene ii with Prince John's line, "Now, Falstaff, where have you been all this while?" There is no mention of Falstaff's prisoner; he is cut completely. The end of Act III Scene iii is also cut, so Bardolph never enters. Some of the key lines in the great Henry IV/Prince Hal scene are cut, such as "God put it in thy mind to take it hence, That thou mights win the more thy father's love." How can you cut that? At the end of the scene, when Henry IV asks them to move him back to the chamber called Jerusalem, he dies before they can do so. Thus, a very different tone for his death. Act V Scene i is cut completely. But the worst cut of all is the Lord Chief Justice's response to Henry V's accusation, his reasons for having put Hal in prison. The entirety of his speech is cut. Cutting that takes away all the power of the scene, and of Hal's change, and of Falstaff's later line "woe to my lord chief justice." Interestingly, over the closing credits we see one of the actors take off his wig and makeup, which leads him to do a portion of the play's epilogue after the credits.

October: The Life Of Henry The Fifth
Related Books:
- Twentieth Century Interpretations Of Henry V edited by Ronald Berman (a collection of critical essays published in 1968)
- The Case For Shakespeare's Authorship Of The Famous Victories by Seymour M. Pitcher (interesting book that includes the complete text of the anonymous play as well as some passages from both Hall and Holinshed; published in 1961)
- Henry V by William Shakespeare (this is the script of Olivier's film, with an introduction by Laurence Olivier; it was published in 1984)
- Henry V: The Graphic Novel by John McDonald; adapted by Brigit Viney (For a comic book, it's surprising how much is included - the glove bit, the stuff about Bardolph, even the bit about Alexander The Great. But the whole thing is simplified, so we have even this line: "We few, we happy few, we team of brothers." Apparently people who read comic books are so stupid as to not understand the word "band." The book shies away from the word "ransom" as well. Yet it has pictures of decapitated heads and blood spurting out of wounds. Just what age is its intended audience? The French scene is in English, so it doesn't work. And Alice says, "Dress" instead of the fun word, so Katharine's line, "These are very bad words" makes no sense. Likewise, the scene with Henry and Katharine is all in English, so a lot of it doesn't work. Changing Katharine's line to "I don't understand 'like me'" ruins Henry's line, "An angel is like you, Kate" - not that that was such a great line to begin with. There is a glossary in the back, defining such difficult words as "bell" and "chin." It incorrectly defines "dice" as singular: "A dice is a small cube which..." Also, there is a short biography of William Shakespeare which includes this error: "His final play was Henry VII written two years before his death." Shakespeare never in fact wrote a play titled Henry VII. Basically, this is a terrible adaptation, and students should stay far away from it. It was published in 2010.)
- The Royal Shakespeare Company's Centenary Production Of Henry V edited by Sally Beauman (This book actually contains the entire play, with notes about certain lines and cuts; there is an introduction written by the play's director, as well as interviews with many of the cast members, sketches of the costumes, excerpts from reviews of the play and letters from audience members to the company. Published in 1976.)
Film Versions:
- The Life Of Henry The Fifth (1979) with David Gwillim, Alec McCowen, Bryan Pringle, Jocelyne Boisseau; directed by David Giles. The tennis ball scene was excellent. Henry is playful at the end of the scene, tossing the balls to members of the court (thus connecting to his character in The First Part Of King Henry The Fourth). I liked some of the stuff with the Chorus, when he interacted with characters. (He catches a tennis ball at the beginning of Act II.) But I would have used more wide shots, letting him be more free with his gestures. Of course the Chorus doesn't quite work the same way it does on stage. Act III Scene vii was hilarious. It was really well done. I laughed out loud multiple times during that scene. Another bit that was funny was in Act IV Scene iv, when Pistol makes his exit. He says, "Follow me" and heads off in one direction until there is the sound of an explosion, at which point he does an about face, and repeats, "Follow me." (The only problem with that is that in the play there is only one "Follow me.") Probably my favorite scene in the play is Act IV Scene i, and this production did a great job with it. David Pinner was excellent as Williams. This was actually a really good production. It basically only suffered at the end. The wooing of Katharine doesn't quite work. But really, it's the play's fault. The fifth act is weak. The bit with Pistol eating the leek is rather stupid, and Burgundy's speech is long and dull. But it's the wooing that really comes off poorly, though Jocelyne Boisseau, who plays Katharine, is beautiful.
- An Age Of Kings Part Seven: Signs Of War (1960) with Robert Hardy, William Squire, Judi Dench; directed by Michael Hayes. This is the seventh part of a fifteen-part series that covers Richard The Second through Richard The Third. This episode covers the first three acts of The Life Of Henry The Fifth. I like the way the Chorus uses the space, the stage at the beginning. The camera drifts ahead of him at the end of his speech, so by the words "our play" we see the players and not the Chorus. Act I Scene i is cut, which is a shame because that scene reveals the religious figures' true reasons for wanting war and sets the tone for the play. Without that scene, it seems like everyone is ultra-patriotic. In Act I Scene ii, we see Henry while the ambassadors of France speak. At the beginning of Act II, when the Chorus mentions the three conspirators, the camera shows each in turn, which is great, because this way we're introduced to them before the king confronts them with their treason. Interestingly, part of the Chorus' speech is moved to the beginning of Act II Scene ii - "There is the playhouse now, there must you sit..." is done as voice over. All three conspirators appear nervous even before opening their commissions, when they realize that all three were given commissions, making them suspicious - which was cool. The beginning of Act III Scene ii is cut, so that scene begins with Boy's lines (so Bardolph and Nym are cut). In Act III Scene iii the Governor is off screen, We see Henry looking up toward the camera as we hear Governor's lines, which doesn't really work. The scene in which Katherine is learning English was adorable. Judi Dench was of course perfect. In Act III Scene vi, the dialogue with Pistol is cut, those lines which explain why Bardolph is to be executed. So later when Fluellen mentions it to Henry, it doesn't really make sense.
- An Age Of Kings Part Eight: The Band Of Brothers (1960) with Robert Hardy, Kenneth Farrington, Robert Lang, Judi Dench; directed by Michael Hayes. This is the eighth part of a fifteen-part series that covers Richard The Second through Richard The Third. This episode covers Acts IV and V of The Life Of Henry The Fifth. This episode suffers from a lot of terrible cuts, while the weak Act V is almost entirely intact. The first part of Act IV Scene i is cut. So after the Chorus it goes straight to the three soldiers. That means more stuff with Pistol is cut (as in Part Seven). And then the whole bit regarding the gloves is cut. There are weird shots of feet walking in place. It looks like some odd dance. That is supposed to signify the battle. It doesn't work. Act IV Scenes iv, v and vi are completely cut, as is the beginning of Scene vii. So once again we lose Pistol's scene (scene iv). And Williams is cut from scenes vii and viii (the glove bit). That means Montjoy and the heralds leave to count the dead, and then almost immediately the heralds return with the information - no time having passed in which to count the dead. Oddly, Act V Scene i is left in. That is the scene with Pistol and the leek. Why cut all the great Pistol scenes and leave that stupid scene in? Judi Dench is delicious as Katherine in Act V. During the epilogue, Chorus steps over to Henry's coffin and rests his hand on it, which is a nice touch.
- Henry The Fifth (1944) with Laurence Olivier, Robert Newton, Leslie Banks, Esmond Knight; directed by Laurence Olivier. This production is interesting, for it starts as theatre (well, filmed theatre, of course) and then becomes a movie, before finally returning to theatre. A title card tells us that the play is acted this day of May 1st, 1600. And there is a shot of The Globe. And then we're inside The Globe, as folks take their seats and the play begins. In the first scene, the archbishop of Canterbury has a line about Falstaff, which is not in the play, and which elicits a cheer from the audience (Olivier's way of demonstrating the popularity of the character at that time). The second scene starts from backstage, and there is a lot of comic business in the scene. All of the first act is done on the stage, and sometimes the laughter of the audience is distracting. At the beginning of Act II, after the Chorus, it begins to rain, and some of the groundlings move for cover. Mistress Quickly is played by a woman, but she plays it (and is made up) like a man playing the role. After Act II Scene i we get the rest of the Chorus's speech from the beginning of Act II, starting with "Linger your patience on," and then the film moves from the stage into the movie (though still with obvious backdrops). Most of Act II Scene ii is cut. And then we actually see Falstaff, who doesn't appear in the original play. He is in bed, and says some of his lines from the end of The Second Part Of King Henry The Fourth, and then hears Henry's response - reliving in a sense the scene in which Henry turns him away. Then the film goes into Act II Scene iii, and now that we're in the film, Mistress Quickly is a woman played as a woman, without the heavy makeup - a very cool touch. The "carnation" line is cut. The Chorus's lines at the beginning of Act II are moved so they lead into Act II Scene iv. The French king fainting at the end of Act II Scene iv is rather lame. Then Act III begins with the second half of the Chorus's speech ("Work, work your thoughts...") done as voice over. The Boy's lines are cut from Act III Scene ii. After the English lesson, Katherine and Alice walk into Act III Scene v (and they react in a shocked manner to the word "bastard," which is kind of lame). The beginning of Act III Scene vi is cut - all the stuff with Pistol, the stuff about Bardolph. The scene begins with Montjoy's entrance. Oddly, the lines in which Henry pokes fun at the French are cut, so it seems his sad assessment of his own troops is in earnest. So what do his troops think of that? Because usually they laugh at the jest, and it unites them. After the Act IV Chorus speech, it goes back to Act III Scene vii, and that scene is done well - it's quite funny. Then more of the Chorus begins Act IV. Act IV Scene i, line 66 is changed from "So! in the name of Jesu Christ, speak fewer" to "In the name of Beelzebub, speak lower." And odd change. Some of Williams' lines are given to Alexander Court, which is an odd choice. The glove bit is cut. And Henry's soliloquy is done as voice over as we see Henry seated in front of a fire. Before Montjoy enters, we actually see the stakes being hammered into the ground, which is cool. Henry's line, "I fear thou wilt once more come again for a ransom" is cut. Of course we see the battle. One archer has a bit of trouble (watch the left side of the screen when they're at the edge of the woods). Act IV Scene iv is cut. We get the first line of Scene vi, then more battle shots leading into Scene v. We see the French destroying the English camp, which leads into Scene vii. Henry has his line about being angry, and that leads once again to the battle before Montjoy returns. Henry's line "I know not if the day be ours or no" is cut. Act IV Scene viii is cut. Act V begins without the Chorus. At the wedding, the scene returns to The Globe, and the Chorus speaks the epilogue on the stage after drawing the curtain on Act V.
- Henry V (1989) with Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Brian Blessed, Ian Holm, Judi Dench, Christopher Ravenscroft, Emma Thompson; directed by Kenneth Branagh. This production starts with a lit match revealing Derek Jacobi as Chorus. Soon we realize he's on a soundstage, not a theatre's stage. And the end of the prologue, he pushes open a door on the stage, leading to the actual set. In Act I Scene ii, Montjoy takes the place of the French Ambassador. The lines in which he asks if he can speak freely, as well as Henry's response ("We are no tyrant, but a Christian king") are cut. Act I ends with everyone exiting toward camera, and there is a wonderful touch right at the end of the scene - the bishops of Canterbury and Ely exit last, and give each other a look which says they've been successful in their endeavor. The Chorus starting Act II is done as voice over, and Bardolph has a funny bit with a cat. As in Olivier's production, we see Falstaff in bed. And we get a flashback to Falstaff entertaining the group from The First Part Of King Henry The Fourth - the bit from Act III Scene iii: "not diced above seven times a week." And that goes right into the Act II Scene iv part about "Banish plump Jack and banish all the world." Hal's response is oddly done as voice over. We then get the "chimes at midnight" line from Act III Scene ii of The Second Part Of King Henry The Fourth. And then Henry says the "I know thee not old man" bit from the end of that play. That leads back to the end of Act II Scene i in Henry V. We see the Chorus introduce the three traitors. The traitors actually try to fight, rather than immediately beg forgiveness. Act II Scene iii begins with a brief shot of Falstaff dead in bed. Pistol's lines near the end of the scene are cut, but otherwise the scene is intact - so both the humor and sadness are there. After Henry's speech at the beginning of Act III, we see Bardolph, Nym and Pistol hang back, but their lines are cut. The end of the English lesson scene is great. Emma Thompson as Katherine has a lot of fun with the joke about "foutre" and "con." Before Act III Scene vi, we see several shots of Henry's army walking in the rain. The stuff about Bardolph is included. In fact, we see Bardolph - and so does Henry - when Fluellen talks of him. We get another flashback to the Eastcheap days, and Bardolph says Falstaff's line from Act I Scene ii of The First Part Of King Henry The Fourth, about not hanging a thief when you are king. Henry replies, "No, thou shalt." And then we see Bardolph hanged in front of Henry. When Montjoy enters, he goes right into his speech. Henry's response does not include the joking and bragging bit. The Chorus steps in and looks at Bardolph's corpse, and then does the beginning of his Act IV speech (through "Who like a foul and ugly witch doth limp/So tediously away"), which leads into Act III Scene vii. Montjoy is in the scene in place of Lord Rambures, so he asks about the stars on Constable's armor (just as in the 1975 RSC production). The Constable says, "Stars, Montjoy" rather than "Stars, my lord." Chorus then continues his Act IV speech, ending with "a touch of Harry in the night" (again, the same as the 1975 RSC production). Williams throws his glove down, but none of the dialogue regarding the glove is spoken. We see the stakes being hammered into the ground before Act IV Scene iii. Henry's line that he fears Montjoy will return once again is cut. As they rush into battle, the Chorus finishes his Act IV speech. Rather than see the French approach, we hear them while seeing the English army's reaction, which is a great moment. And then we see the battle, which of course Shakespeare did not write. And what he did write of the battle - Act IV Scene iv, in which Pistol gets a ransom from a French soldier - is cut. We do see Pistol stealing, however - and Nym being killed. The dialogue between Henry and Fluellen (ending with "God keep me so") leads directly into Pistol's short speech from Act V Scene i about Mistress Quickly's death. Then it goes back to Act IV Scene viii, when the numbers of the dead are given. As Henry exits, he simply returns the glove to Williams - a nice touch, and a great way to include the glove bit without going through the whole thing. We then go to Act V Scene ii - so the leek bit is cut, as is the speech of the Chorus from the beginning of Act V. Henry has the Queen's lines at the end of the play (again, as in the 1975 RSC production). The Chorus speaks the epilogue and then closes the door from the beginning. There are some excellent performances, particularly by Ian Holm as Fluellen, Christopher Ravenscroft as Montjoy, and Judi Dench as Mistress Quickly. (By the way, I watched this on October 25th, which is the day the Battle of Agincourt was fought.)

November: The Life Of King Henry The Eighth
Related Books:
- The Problem Of Henry VIII Reopened by A.C. Partridge (This is an essay detailing linguistic criteria for the two styles apparent in the play; published in 1949)
- A Study Of Shakespeare's Henry VIII by Cumberland Clark (This book has chapters on the authorship question and the historical accuracy of the events portrayed, as well as chapters on some of the major characters such as Henry VIII, Wolsey, Cranmer, and Katharine and Anne; published in 1931.)
- The Rise And Fall Of Anne Boleyn: Family Politics At The Court Of Henry VIII by Retha M. Warnicke (This book, of course, goes well beyond the scope of Shakespeare's play, which recounts only Anne's rise; published in 1989.)
Film Versions:
- The Famous History Of The Life Of King Henry The Eighth (1979) with John Stride, Timothy West, Julian Glover, Claire Bloom and Barbara Kellerman; directed by Kevin Billington. This production was filmed on location at Leeds Castle, which was a wonderful choice. The prologue is done as voice over during a slow push in on King Henry. This production has an excellent cast. Claire Bloom of course is great as Katharine, though I didn't like that she crossed herself on the line "God mend all" in Act I Scene ii - it lessens the impact of the line. In Act IV her dream sequence is done quickly and not very interestingly. I thought Julian Glover was perfect as Buckingham, and Timothy West was wonderful as Cardinal Wolsey. But the play itself is strangely episodic, and at times a bit dull. The epilogue was completely cut from this production.

December: The Tragedy Of Titus Andronicus
Related Books:
- Shakespeare's Earliest Tragedy: Studies In Titus Andronicus by G. Harold Metz (One of the most interesting chapters is that on the text, in which the three quartos and the First Folio editions are compared; published in 1996)
Film Versions:
- Titus Andronicus (1985) with Trevor Peacock, Eileen Atkins, Gavin Richards, Brian Protheroe, Anna Calder-Marshall; directed by Jane Howell. I was surprised by how good this production was. I expected Trevor Peacock to be great as Titus, and he was even better than I'd imagined. And Eileen Atkins clearly was having a wonderful time playing Tamora. But I wasn't expecting this production to be so good, mostly because the play is not fantastic. But this film had so many nice touches. For example, the top of the stick was stained red with blood after Lavinia (Anna Calder-Marshall) wrote the names of her attackers in the sand, and that was done without any cuts. Probably my favorite touch was having Young Lucius hand his dagger to Lavinia in the banquet scene. She then hands the weapon to Titus. Done this way, we feel for Titus as we do for Lavinia - that this is unavoidable. It's a moment when they're close, that it's something they've decided together, rather than seeming like a selfish and violent act on the part of Titus. This production also made a really interesting choice with Aaron's baby at the end (something not indicated in Shakespeare's play, but which fits perfectly). And Hugh Quarshie was wonderful as Aaron. (I have to guess that the Marquis De Sade read his monologue before writing some of his most famous passages.) The stuff with Young Lucius was great. And the sets are excellent. The design was really well done. Sure, there are brief moments where it went over the top, nearly straying into melodrama - but only a couple of times, and only for a few seconds. This is not Shakespeare's best play, but this production seems to even transcend the material. It's hard to imagine a better version of Titus Andronicus.
- Titus (1999) with Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, Harry Lennix; directed by Julie Taymor. This adaptation is great when it works, and is seriously annoying when it doesn't. This film works best when it's doing the play in a straightforward manner, like in the forest scenes. It's at its worst when director Julie Taymor tries to get creative. It opens with a child with a paper bag over his head in a contemporary kitchen destroying his action figures and making a mess. There's an explosion outside, and the child is carried outside into the Roman colosseum. Suddenly soldiers appear, marching stiffly like living action figures. The dead are carried in. It looks pretty amazing, but I wish the contemporary boy would disappear. Instead, we get a weird mixture of ancient Rome and contemporary items, like motorcycles and tanks. Titus, as imagined by an adolescent boy. The first line in the film is Titus saying, "Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds," so a good portion of the first scene is cut. His opening speech is followed by a short, highly stylized shower scene, before going back to the end of the speech. Saturninus and Bassianus are each leading a parade, pitching their worth as the next emperor to the people. And then the two parades meet, and Marcus speaks into a microphone (as Ian McKellen did Richard III). Saturninus' throne is ridiculous - a horrid large metal easy chair. Lavinia is next to Bassanio when Saturninus claims her for his bride. And Titus reacts with alarm, looking to his daughter. Alan Cumming plays Saturninus as an evil, wormy guy. After the quiet scene in the tomb, when Titus says, "Well, bury him, and bury me the next," it cuts to a jazz nightclub, a display of decadence - an orgy without the sex. Great juxtaposition, but no lines are spoken here. When Tamora steps outside to speak to Aaron, there is a giant hand statue, a none-too-subtle symbol. Jessica Lange as Tamora delivers "I'll find a day to massacre them all" directly to us. The fight between her sons, Demetrius and Chiron, is not done well, and has weird incestuous tones between the brothers. In Act II Scene iii, Aaron changes "panther" to "tiger," saying, "Where I espied the tiger fast asleep." And in the next shot we actually see a tiger, which makes no sense, and then Martius falls into the hole. Quite a bit of the dialogue before Quintus also falls in is cut. Tamora reads the beginning of the letter that she brings to Saturninus; he then finishes it. (In the play, Saturninus reads the entire thing.) Lavinia's hands are replaced with twigs by Demetrius and Chiron. Marcus spies her from afar, so his speech actually makes much more sense. He speaks as he approaches her. After "Why dost not speak to me," Lavinia opens her mouth, and a river of blood pours out. It looks great. Marcus stares, then says, "Come, let us go, and make thy father blind." So most of his speech is cut. Titus begging the tribunes for pity on his sons is followed by some silly images of an angel and then an even more silly image - that of Mutius' head on the body of a lamb. But the closeup on Titus during the rest of his speech is excellent. Marcus carries Lavinia to Titus. Marcus' lines, "thus I found her straying in the park/Seeking to hide herself" don't make sense because when Marcus found her, she was standing in the middle of a marsh, in the exact spot where her attackers left her, not attempting to hide at all. Aaron drives off in a car with Titus' severed hand - it's these moments that don't work. The score is sometimes so overpowering, and that doesn't fit well with the contemporary stuff. These elements work against each other, and against the piece as a whole. The messenger arrives like a carnival, bringing the heads and hand in the back of a truck and speaking through a megaphone. This scene doesn't work at all. The messenger, as Shakespeare wrote him, has sympathy for Titus. This guy taunts him. What should be one of the most powerful moments of the film is just silly. And because the heads are in the truck, the messenger has to remain there until the end of the scene, and so hears what Titus says. The boy purchases fake hands for Lavinia before Act III Scene ii, so she has them on in the dinner scene. So when Titus says "stumps" we see hands, not stumps. Not just in this scene, but every time for the rest of the film. And the boy, of course, turns out to be Young Lucius. And in this production, it is Young Lucius, rather than Marcus, who kills the fly, giving the scene a much more playful tone. Then there is a video game scene - seriously - Demetrius and Chiron playing video games, while Aaron plays pool. This scene is pointless, as there are no lines. When Lavinia uses the stick to reveal her attackers' names, we get loud music and stupid annoying imagery. (She doesn't put the stick in her mouth, but holds it between her head and shoulder.) When Young Lucius arrives with the weapons, Demetrius is playing video games again. We then get an orgy scene - with no lines, of course. Meanwhile Titus is gathering people for the archery scene. The arrows go through a hole in the ceiling above the orgy and land among the fornicators. The clown is cut completely from this production. When Lucius tells the Goths to hang Aaron "on this tree," there is no tree nearby. When Tamora and her sons arrive at Titus' home, Titus is drawing pictures in blood in a bathtub. He is clearly crazy, and Tamora's voice is in his head, which makes no sense whatsoever. Then he opens the window and sees that Tamora and her sons are actually out there. But keep in mind that Titus is not crazy, but feigning it - so this scene is all wrong. Titus' aside in which he shows he's not mad is cut. That is by far the worst cut in the film. There is a silly shot of the meat pies cooling in front of an open window. So the banquet scene, which should be horrific and serious, begins with a joke. A terrible idea. Alan Cumming is made up like a half-assed drag queen. And because he plays Saturninus as such a villain, his lines at the end when he asks who ravished Lavinia, aren't believable - he seems like a different character then. After Lucius kills Saturninus, the scene suddenly moves outdoors, and there is an audience. Marcus speaks into a microphone again, making Lucius emperor as plastic sheets cover the bodies. We actually see Aaron buried up to his chest. and it is then that he delivers his last lines. Like in the BBC production, at the end Young Lucius is looking at Aaron's baby in a cage - except in this version the infant lives. And in this version the last shot is along, dull shot of Young Lucius carrying the infant off into the sunrise. Seriously.

Miscellaneous Books:
- 1601, and Is Shakespeare Dead? by Mark Twain (with an introduction by Erica Jong; This book contains two of Mark Twain's works - the first being the very short "1601," in which Shakespeare is a character, and incidentally the only Mark Twain book I've read that contains the word "cunt." The second, "Is Shakespeare Dead?" is Mark Twain's rant on the authorship question. It is quite funny at first, then becomes tiresome, before becoming somewhat funny again toward the end. Mark Twain basically argues that William Shakespeare couldn't have written the plays because he wasn't a lawyer and the plays are filled with correct legal details, and that Francis Bacon was a lawyer and therefore probably wrote the plays. This is such a lame argument, and Mark Twain offers no ideas on why Francis Bacon, if indeed he did write all of Shakespeare's works, didn't want to take credit for them. Nor does he offer any insight into why so many people would engage in a conspiracy to attribute the plays to another person. But, as i said, it is funny at first - and actually had me wondering if Mark Twain was possibly being sarcastic about the whole thing. He even makes a bizarre comparison of Shakespeare and Satan. But then he goes into a dull and repetitive argument, and it goes on long enough that any humor has run out, and he seems to actually be angry about the whole thing.)
- The BBC Shakespeare Plays: Making The Televised Canon by Susan Willis (published in 1991)
- The Cambridge Companion To Shakespeare's History Plays edited by Michael Hattaway
- Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? by James Shapiro
- The Elizabethan Underworld by Gamini Salgado (published in 1977)
- The Elizabethan World Picture by E.M.W. Tillyard
- Gender And Performance In Shakespeare's Problem Comedies by David McCandless (has chapters on All's Well That Ends Well, Measure For Measure and Troilus And Cressida)
- Jungle Of Cities And Other Plays by Bertolt Brecht (includes "Roundheads And Peakheads," which is an adaptation of "Measure For Measure")
- Metadrama In Shakespeare's Henriad: Richard II To Henry V by James L. Calderwood (published in 1979)
- The Resistible Rise Of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht (with references to "Richard The Third" and "Julius Caesar" and other plays)
- Shakespeare: A Biographic Aesthetic Study by George H. Calvert
- Shakespeare For All Time by Stanley Wells
- Shakespeare On Television edited by J.C. Bulman and H.R. Coursen (This book is an anthology of essays and reviews, focusing mainly on the BBC series; published in 1988)
- Shakespearean Metadrama by James L. Calderwood (This book has chapters on Titus Andronicus, Love's Labour's Lost, Romeo And Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Richard II; published in 1971)
- Shakespeare's Hand by Jonathan Goldberg (a sometimes interesting and sometimes tedious collection of essays published in 2003)
- Shakespeare's "Histories": Mirrors Of Elizabethan Policy by Lily B. Campbell (interesting book about Shakespeare's history plays really being about the current political situations of his time; published in 1947)
- The Tiger's Heart: Eight Essays On Shakespeare by Herbert Howarth (published in 1970)
- Treason By Words: Literature, Law, And Rebellion In Shakespeare's England by Rebecca Lemon (published in 2006)
- Unspeakable ShaXXXspeares: Queer Theory And American Kiddie Culture by Richard Burt (published in 1998)
- Will In The World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt

Miscellaneous Films (and shows):
- The 5,000 Fingers Of Dr. T (1953) with Peter Lind Hayes, Mary Healy, Hans Conried and Tommy Rettig; directed by Roy Rowland. This strange children's movie about a boy who doesn't want to learn the piano has a wonderful reference to Hamlet. When Dr. T picks up the severed ends of the beards, he says, "Alas, poor Judson. Alas, poor Whitney. I knew them. Fellows of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy." Compare to lines 169 to 171 of Act V Scene i: "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy." Also, Dr. T is wearing yellow stockings near the end, like Malvolio, but that might not be an intentional reference.
- Blobermouth (1991) This movie is basically The Blob, but with a silly dubbing. One of the characters is constantly quoting Shakespeare, particularly the first line of Richard The Third. He also does the "my kingdom for a horse" line, some bits from Julius Caesar, a bit from Hamlet, and this: "What rock through yonder window breaks" and he throws a rock through a window.
- Elizabeth (1998) with Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush; directed by Shekhar Kepur
- Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) with Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Clive Owen; directed by Shekhar Kepur
- Free Enterprise (1999) with Rafer Weigel, Eric McCormack and William Shatner; directed by Robert Meyer Burnett. In this film, William Shatner pitches a full-text version of Julius Caesar as a musical in which he would play all the male roles. And at the end, he does a rap version of some of Julius Caesar, titled "No Tears For Caesar."
- The Goodbye Girl (2004) with Jeff Daniels and Patricia Heaton; directed by Richard Benjamin. This is the remake of the 1977 film. In it, Jeff Daniels is an actor hired to play Richard The Third, but to play him as a total queen. There are scenes of him rehearsing Richard III, and we see the opening night (which is also the closing night).
- Great Acting: Laurence Olivier (1966) Laurence Olivier discusses his roles in "Hamlet," "Richard III" and "Othello."
- Kings Of The Road (2005) Film scholar Paul Arthur discusses My Own Private Idaho, and its connections with Shakespeare and Orson Welles
- The Making Of Titus (2000) More than half of this documentary is about the rehearsal process, and includes interviews shot before the principal photography, which is great. We get to see moments from the first read-through with the cast, as well as physical and vocal warm-ups with Cicely Berry. But then the documentary rushes through principal photography, and dedicates way too much time to the film's score.
- Much Ado About Shakespeare (2003) Directed by Michael Rubbo. This is a messy and largely unfocused documentary about the possibility that Christopher Marlowe wrote all the plays attributed to William Shakespeare. The problem is that people who believe this are morons. The theory is based on an incredible amount of suppositions and basically no evidence whatsoever. They suppose that Marlowe didn't die in 1593, as is recorded, but rather was whisked away by higher powers to Italy, where he continued to write and send plays back to London. And in a conspiracy involving everyone related to the theatre his plays were attributed to William Shakespeare. Of course, they never to take into account, for example, the play he co-wrote with John Fletcher. Are we to assume that Christopher Marlowe co-wrote that play? Or did they just throw in Fletcher's name to mix things up a bit?
- Shakespeare's Women & Claire Bloom (1999) with Claire Bloom performing monologues and talking about some of the great roles she's done.
- Strings (2004) a strange puppet movie that has loose ties to Henry IV and Henry V. Prince Hal has to become a wise leader and bring peace to the land after his father had gained the throne through nefarious means. But there is no Falstaff character, sadly. And this film also borrows from the Star Wars saga - as the king had turned to the good side in the last moments of his life, like Anakin Skywalker - and Hal has a line that he is like his father, as Luke said to Palpatine toward the end of Return Of The Jedi.
- Will Shakespeare (1978) with Tim Curry as William Shakespeare; this British mini-series also features Ron Cook and Peter Benson (who play Richard The Third and Henry The Sixth in the BBC productions).

Plays I've Attended During The Year
- As You Like It: The Musical (The Classical Theatre Lab - Great Hall Courtyard, Plummer Park, West Hollywood; July 24, 2011; adapted and directed by Tony Tanner) (As You Like It actually works as a musical. And most of this cast can really sing, particularly Jessica Pennington as Rosalind. Also, for once, Rosalind was believable as a boy when dressed in men's attire. They devised an inventive solution to the problem of staging the wrestling match. The scene where the poems are found on the trees was really well done and quite funny. I thoroughly enjoyed this show, and loved the songs - which surprised me. If this cast put out a soundtrack, I would want to get it. I really liked Touchstone's song about Audrey.)
- Hamlet (Independent Shakespeare Company - Griffith Park; July 23, 2011) (This was a seriously wonderful production. I was thrilled with basically all of the performances. There are two things that I didn't like. The first was Hamlet's shirt, which said "Beer." That was a bit distracting. The second was some of the clowning of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Most of it was fine. But during one of Hamlet's key speeches, there was laughter from the audience. Hamlet was upstage left, on a set of stairs. My focus was on him, but at the laughter I looked to the ther side of the stage, and stage right those two were striking poses and making faces. That's just wrong. Their backs should have been to the audience, so that all of the focus was on Hamlet, as it should be for that scene. But seriously, everything else was incredible. I became completely oblivious to the rest of the audience and the park and everything during the second half of the show. I was totally immersed in the world of this production.)
- Love's Labour's Lost (Independent Shakespeare Company - Griffith Park; August 18, 2011) (I loved every moment of this performance. There is nothing that I would alter. Every cast member was strong. They played the comedy well, and let the seriousness of the last scene work. I particularly enjoyed the way they handled the masked scene. And during the scene where the men hide and spy on each other, the three hid among the audience, which was a lot of fun. Because I was seated right in the front, I was brought on stage at the beginning for a bit of silliness involving a curtain and some hardcore bonking - well, a curtain anyway. It was actually a great way to start the play - seeing Jacuenetta and Costard engaged in a bit of hanky panky. They were played by the wonderful - and sexy - Mary Guilliams and the incomparable David Melville. This was after the rules of Navarre were read to us - rules including No looking at a member of the opposite sex, which I broke and for which I was written a ticket - a five dollar fine, which I paid after the performance. This is a perfect play for the outdoors, especially on lines like, "this ceiling is too high for your court" (CHECK))
- The Merry Wives Of Windsor (Independent Shakespeare Company - Griffith Park; July 21, 2011) (The actors I thought were excellent were Danny Campbell as Falstaff, David Melville as Ford, Bernadette Sullivan as Mrs. Page, and Lorenzo Gonzalez as Dr. Caius.)
- Richard III (at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum; September 4, 2011) (Interesting production in which a woman, Melora Marshall, performed the title role. I liked a lot of her choices, but there were times when she seemed to be making faces and drawing out words. There was something reptilian in her perfornance. Other choices of hers I didn't care for, like that she fell down when Lady Anne spit at her. The best performances were by Christopher W. Jones as Buckingham and Abby Craden as Queen Elizabeth. The production felt a bit rushed, and there were terribly weak performances as well, particularly by the boy who played the young prince. It took me a bit to get used to a black Margaret - as her presence sort of re-writes history - but I thought she did a good job. She was a strong presence, as Margaret needs be. The ghosts came from the woods upstage, which was a really great use of the space. Directed by Ellen Geer.)

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