- Laurence Olivier
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Monday, December 02, 2002
Outstanding adaptation of the oft-filmed play by William Shakespeare, about treason, vengeance and incest. Olivier managed to create a fantastic piece of entertainment that’s absorbing and quite accessible. The performances are all expert, with Olivier as grand as ever in the lead, proving once more how he can speak Shakespeare’s lines so naturally that he seems to be thinking them; if he looks a bit old for the role, his lightness of speech and movement make up for that. Jean Simmons is the perfect Ophelia, fragile and delicate of mind. Other standouts are Terence Morgan as the mischievous Polonius, and a young Peter Cushing as Osric.
The production design by Roger K. Furse, art direction by Carmen Dillon and black and white cinematography by Desmond Dickinson are so moody that they nearly speak lines of their own, while the score by William Walton accompanies perfectly. Shakespeare’s lines rarely felt so comfortable on film and it shows how well Olivier knew what he had to do.
Hamlet’s conversations with his dead father, the staging of his father’s murder, the madness of Ophelia, the reflections of a gravedigger, the swordfight with Laertes (Terence Morgan), all unforgettable scenes.
This is indeed a masterpiece.
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