Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
Scholars Online Educational Resources

Home

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

1994: Royal Deceit

2008: Hamlet 2

2014: Hamlet A.D.D.

2017: Ophelia (short)

2018: Ophelia


Hamlet
2009: Simon Bowler

This has been available for a while for viewing on the Amazon website, and is finally available on DVD.

Its main claim to fame seems to be that it’s made according to the “Dogme 95” methodology of some European filmmakers, though that's something of an exaggeration, perhaps: normally dogme film exploits natural environments and eschews staged settings or artificial light. This has all the characteristics of a stage production — dark, but on a kind of neutral “black-box” stage, without anything that would pass for a set, with harsh spot-lighting on the actors. One of the tenets of dogme is that the film must be in color; this is nominally so, but the lighting is so extreme as to produce a virtual black-and-white tonality. Dogme also stipulates that the director should never be credited. To this sometime paradox, Simon Bowler applies Dogme 95’s cinéma-verite hand-held camera work.

As far as it goes, it’s an interesting production. It’s barely an hour and a quarter long, though, and if for that reason only it’s hard to take it for anything like a complete Hamlet. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern show up about fifteen minutes into the play. There are occasional arbitrary intrusions (e.g., Hamlet singing “Rule, Britannia” after he’s been sent to England), but ultimately for all its strangeness, it does take the Hamlet narrative seriously, and that sets it head and shoulders above many other productions one could point to.

In practical terms, this functions chiefly as a repository of the more famous speeches in the play. They are, by and large, creditably delivered. David Melville renders Hamlet’s speeches with a certain amount of genuine energy and nuance. Bernadette Sullivan’s Gertrude has both dignity and vulnerability that surpasses many more complete performances. Ophelia appears only for one painful scene before her death is announced, but it’s well-played. We see nothing of her madness, which is, I think, important to the overall flow of the play. Claudius has both gravity and superb diction.

I can certainly recommend this as a source of reflective material about Hamlet, and if one knows the play, the missing continuity can be provided from the viewer’s memory. But one must not take it for the real thing.


Bernardo: Matt Hurley

Gertrude: Bernadette Sullivan

Ghost: Danny Campbell

Gravedigger: Danny Campbell

Guildenstern: Matt Hurley

Hamlet: David Melville

Horatio: Sean Pritchett

Laertes; Player: Hayden Adams

Marcellus: Darrel Guilbeau

Messenger: Jennifer Mefford

Ophelia: Melissa Chalsma

Osric: Matt Hurley

Player King: Danny Campbell

Player Queen: Jennifer Mefford

Polonius: David Nathan Schwartz

Rosencrantz: Darrel Guilbeau