Shakespeare, the Movie II: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, Video, and Dvd

Shakespeare, the Movie II: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, Video, and Dvd

Shakespeare, the Movie II: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, Video, and Dvd

Shakespeare, the Movie II: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, Video, and Dvd

Synopsis

Following on from the phenomenally successful Shakespeare, The Movie , this volume brings together an invaluable new collection of essays on cinematic Shakespeares in the 1990s and beyond. Shakespeare, The Movie II :*focuses for the first time on the impact of postcolonialism, globalization and digital film on recent adaptations of Shakespeare;*takes in not only American and British films but also adaptations of Shakespeare in Europe and in the Asian diapora;*explores a wide range of film, television, video and DVD adaptations from Almereyda's Hamlet to animated tales, via Baz Luhrmann, Kenneth Branagh, and 1990s' Macbeths, to name but a few;*offers fresh insight into the issues surrounding Shakespeare on film, such as the interplay between originals and adaptations, the appropriations of popular culture, the question of spectatorship, and the impact of popularization on the canonical status of "the Bard."Combining three key essays from the earlier collection with exciting new work from leading contributors, Shakespeare, The Movie II offers sixteen fascinating essays. It is quite simply a must-read for any student of Shakespeare, film, media or cultural studies.

Excerpt

Passion and parody in William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet and Shakespeare in Love

Michael Anderegg

"Believe you me, we're not the first butchers of the Bard"

Baz Luhrmann, Romeo + Juliet Special Edition DVD (2002)

"The Elizabethan theatre was a similar set-up to Hollywood in many respects. Collective writing, rapid writing on commission, repeated re-use of the same subjects, no control for writers over their own products, fame only among other writers, … even Shakespeare's curious retirement to run a public house [!] resembles the escape to the ranch that everybody here is planning."

Bertolt Brecht, Journals 1934-1955 (Santa Monica, July 7, 1943)

Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996) and John Madden's Shakespeare in Love (1998) can both be described as postmodern retellings of the best-known romantic tragedy in Western literature. Both films find ways to stand in awe of Romeo and Juliet even as they undermine its highbrow credentials. Luhrmann essentially puts the play in quotation marks, almost as if his gun-wielding teens had been dragooned into a high school production and had then found themselves swept away by the force of its romantic vision. Shakespeare in Love pretends that the play originates in the hackwork of a thieving playwright in search of a saleable commodity which then becomes magically transformed by the promptings of desire into a transcendent expression of love's truth. Each film is a testimony to the malleability of Romeo and Juliet as a cultural object in the modern and postmodern moment. Before looking at both films in some detail, a brief excursus into earlier mass media appropriations of Shakespeare's play will help to reveal some of the sources of its continuing fascination as an iconic text in popular culture.

On February 21, 1954, CBS Television's You Are There took its viewers back to "December 26, 1594: The First Command Performance of Romeo and Juliet." This evening's episode, like all of the others in this popular middlebrow series, was structured

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