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Shakespeare on the Screen: Kenneth Branagh’s Adaptations of «Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing» and «Hamlet»

2nd revised edition


Tanja Weiss and Tanja Weiss

This study is the first monograph that is dedicated to all three of Kenneth Branagh’s Shakespeare adaptations. Unlike many other scholarly analyses of filmed literature, it focuses on the very mechanics of "adaptation", only then turning to the matter of "interpretation". The question of reception takes its place in the foreground, when the films are compared with their originals to point out how the adaptations were done. Analytical-descriptive interpretation builds up the framework of the detailed discussion. A thorough comparison between film and Elizabethan theatre preceeds the exploration of Branagh’s Shakespeare treatments. The author’s practical background in (screen)writing meets with her theoretical studies. The result of that unusual encounter in academic research is a fresh and unbiased approach to Branagh’s successful adaptations, perhaps as fresh as the adaptor’s approach to the classical dramatist.
Contents: The art of adaptation – Film vs. Elizabethan theatre – Problems of adapting Shakespeare for the screen – Henry V: The Reshaping of Act II – The presentation of the battle – Much Ado: The opening scenes and the spirit of the comedy – Hamlet: Key scenes and key locations – The soliloquies.