Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
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All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus
Cymbeline
Hamlet
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Othello
Pericles
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale
Shakespeareana

Available versions

1948: Laurence Olivier

1964: Philip Saville

1964: Bill Colleran, John Gielgud

1964: Grigori Kozintsev

1969: Tony Richardson

1976: Celestino Coronada

1980: Rodney Bennett

1990: Kevin Kline

1990: Franco Zeffirelli

1996: Kenneth Branagh

2000: Michael Almereyda

2000: Campbell Scott, Eric Simonson

2002: Peter Brook

2003: Michael Mundell

2007: Alexander Fodor

2009: Simon Bowler

2009: Gregory Doran

2011: Bruce Ramsay

2014: Adam Hall

2015: Sarah Frankcom, Margaret Williams

2015: Dick Douglass, Obie Dean

2016: Jennifer Nicole Stang

2016: Simon Godwin


Adaptations

1992: Natalya Orlova, Dave Edwards (animated)

2004: Hamlet (opera, Ambroise Thomas)


Production drama

2003: Slings and Arrows (Season 1)


Educational

1990: Discovering Hamlet

2010: This is Hamlet

2013: Shakespeare Uncovered (Season 1, Ep. 6)


Related

1990: Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead

2008: Hamlet 2

2014: Hamlet A.D.D.


Hamlet
2003: Michael Mundell

This is probably the last item in the career of Michael Mundell, who died the same year it was released. It was never given a theatrical or television release, but instead went straight to video. This is usually the graveyard of inferior productions that are not expected to do well in any other context.

It would be unfair to leap to that conclusion here. The setting here is modest, and both the film quality and the other production values are very modest. Within that limitation, though, it manages to achieve a reasonably good product. The acting is understated, but thoughtfully nuanced.

The chief problem of the film, I think, is that there’s not enough of it. It’s slightly under two hours, which is not enough time to do credit to Hamlet’s thematic expansiveness. Hamlet is probably the most-cut play in history, and it’s one of those that can least afford it. The unfolding line of reason in many of the speeches is undercut by the trimming here and there. When all is said and done, about half the play is cut.

William Houston’s Hamlet is played with quiet finesse, and I think his expression of the role has not received nearly enough attention. If there is any deficiency here, it is that he seems to lack (though only a little) Hamlet’s peculiar morbid playfulness. Nevertheless, that is all in the range of interpretable options. He seems young enough to play the part (Hamlet being the only character in all of Shakespeare, I think, whose precise age we know: he’s thirty), and he has both the maturity and the youth to do the role credit.

Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, and Polonius are all competently played as well. Lucy Cockram plays Ophelia with more strength than is perhaps normal at the beginning of the play, though not without a measure of vulnerability: her fall into madness is to my mind thereby the more tragic and moving. When all is said and done, there are few real stand-out parts. There’s little in this whole production that’s spectacular, in fact. To some extent that’s its virtue: it’s not about set pieces or individual effects. Instead it converges into an organic whole that’s as well integrated as any performance of Hamlet you’re likely to see, even with all the cutting that has taken place. There’s a lot to commend that, I think, even if it doesn’t create glittering moments.

Very few are likely to have seen this version of the play, but it’s worth seeking out. It’s exceptionally good other than in respect to its truncated length.


Claudius: Gareth Thomas

First Player: John Corvin

Gertrude : Jillian Bond

Ghost: Iain Cuthbertson

Gravedigger: Christopher Timothy

Guildenstern: Richard Hansell

Hamlet: William Houston

Horatio: Jason Harris

Laertes: Paul Curran

Murderer: Bryan Harrison

Ophelia: Lucy Cockram

Osric: Alistair Wilson

Player Queen: John Stevens

Polonius : David Powell-Davies

Rosencrantz: Richard Brimblecombe

Wedding Guest: Sofia Price