Hamlet Film Analysis

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Date Submitted: 12/14/2010 01:47 PM

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Yan Yaroshevich


2nd period

Hamlet Film Analysis

In all three versions of the play, there are some similarities in the way in which Hamlet and his father’s ghost are portrayed during their first encounter, and the depiction of events in the play, but the films mostly contrast in the play’s tone, and the characters’ personalities. The similarities and the contrasting in the characters and their personalities are shown by the director’s choice of lines for them, their actions, speech pattern, and their emphasis on certain lines or words. The depiction of events, although mostly similar, varies slightly in the different versions, again by the author’s choice of lines. The tone of the events varies drastically in each version of the play, which is shown by the director’s choice in which scenes to include, such as flashbacks. It is also shown by the pace of the events, and by the choice of the background music in the scene.

In Lawrence Oliver’s Hamlet, it is shown that Hamlet senses the ghost, and as soon as he does, his heart begins to beat fast, as dramatic music begins playing, and the film zooms in on Hamlet as the screen blurs erratically. The music stops abruptly as Horatio warns Hamlet of the appearance of the ghost, and Hamlet falls into the arms of Horatio and Marcellus. When Hamlet wishes to pursue the ghost, Horatio and Marcellus try to hold him back, but he breaks free and threatens them with his sword. He follows the ghost up a staircase, while holding his sword up, with the blade towards the ground. The ghost looks mysterious and ominous, shrouded in fog, and whispering in a soft yet eerie voice. He tells the story of his murder through a flashback, in which the edges of the screen are also covered in fog. As the ghost leaves, he steps back and the area is filled again with fog, and Hamlet reaches out to him. At this point, Hamlet’s fast heartbeat, and the dramatic music resumes, until he falls back on the ground. Hamlet’s first...