Play Hamlet vs. Mel Gibson’s movie version

Performance Analysis of Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” My performance analysis is based on Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. This production was directed by Franco Zeffirelli and starred Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, and Paul Scofield. In this production of Hamlet, the original old English is used. However, I noticed that any dialog that was too difficult to comprehend or too wordy was deleted from the scenes. Some of the scenes had also been altered. For example, In Act 2, Scene 1, the director has Polonius spy on Ophelia and Hamlet, and this is how he learns of Hamlet’s strange visit with his daughter and Hamlet’s madness. In the original text of Act 2, scene 1, Ophelia informs Polonius of Hamlet’s visit and his apparent madness. I believe the director chose to have Polonius spy on them to obtain this information, because the audience would observe for themselves just how mad Hamlet appears. It was also probably done to save time so that the movie wouldn’t drag. In Kenneth Branaugh’s version the movie is contained on two tapes, and his version was a little too slow moving for my taste.

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The lines 207-0 213 in Act 2, scene2, where Polonius has a lengthy monologue, also appears to have been cut from the script. In that same act the lines where Guildenstern and Rosencranz enter the scene have been moved to Act 3, Scene 1, a point directly after Hamlet’s “Mousetrap” play. There were also several other modifications to the placement of scenes in this play, including Shakespeare’s famous speech, “To be or not to be […],” which had been moved to Act 1, scene 2. I believe all of these changes were made due to the advantageous nature of the film media. It was possible for the director to show several shots of different actors and events, shifting back and forth between scenes. This gave the effect of the scenes occurring simultaneously. Since these scenes appeared to have occurred at the same time in the movie, it probably made sense or seemed more effective to the director to move the scenes or acts around to what seemed the most logical point in the film.

As a result of these modifications, I felt this version of Hamlet was more fast-paced and engaging. It did not drag. I appreciated this production over the other Hamlet films I have seen, because it was made more interesting through director’s shifting camera technique. The setting and costumes of this play were also historically accurate for that time period. And the lighting was well done -not too dark. As far as the actors go, Mel Gibson gave an energetic interpretation of the melancholy Hamlet; and Glenn Close was so intense and very believable as Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother. The other actors also performed their parts very well. In summary, I enjoyed this performance more than Kenneth Branaugh’s production, because I felt it was faster paced and more dynamic. I feel this effect was achieved through the director’s technique of shifting the camera between the actors and scenes to give the impression that events were occurring simultaneously. I also feel Mel Gibson’s energetic performance and Glenn Close’s intense and realistic performance added a dynamic quality, which I have not seen in any other production of this play.

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