This week I’ll review various Shakespeare DVDS and point out their various merits and drawbacks. I’ll begin with my favorite of all Shakespeare’s plays, Henry V
Personally, I believe Laurence Olivier’s Henry V is the paragon of all the various editions of Shakespeare’s work— thrilling and yet serious, humorous and also stern. Olivier really seems to show “The vasty fields of France”, and to “Cram, within this wooden O, the very casques that did affright the air at Agincourt”.
The scenery is very carefully set up, the costumes are of scarcely unsurpassed excellence, but most important of all, the acting and directing are both supreme. Olivier is a marvelous Henry, and the famed St. Crispian’s day speech is extant in its full glory.
There is another edition I’ve seen, part of the BBC’s An Age of Kings (thirty-five dollars for a black-and-white five disc set). This Henry V is better in some particulars— King Henry is funnier, and somewhat fierier, but not quite as good an actor as Olivier.
The next post in this week-long series tomorrow!