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Mel Gibson , Glenn Close    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.70
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Product Description


Franco Zeffirelli's stripped-down, two-hour version of Shakespeare's play stars Mel Gibson as a rather robust version of the ambivalent Danish prince. Gibson is much better in the part than many critics have admitted, his powers of clarity doing much to make this particular Hamlet more accessible than several other filmed versions. The supporting cast is outstanding, including Glenn Close as Gertrude, Alan Bates as Claudius, Ian Holm as Polonius, and Helena Bonham Carter as Ophelia. Zeffirelli's vigorous direction employs a lively camera style that nicely alters the viewer's preconceptions about the way Hamlet should look. --Tom Keogh

Product Description

Treachery. Madness. Murder. The Story Of Hamlet Has Been Told For 400 Years...But It'S Never Been Told Like This! Mel Gibson (The Mad Max And Lethal Weapon Films) Takes On His Richest Part To Date, The Title Role In A Dynamic New Version Of Shakespeare'S Hamlet. Directed By Franco Zeffirelli (Romeo And Juliet, Jesus Of Nazareth), The Location-Shot Production Has A Sumptuous Look That Won Academy Award Nominations For Art Direction And Costume Design. Gibson Plays The Prince Of Medieval-Era Denmark, Who Senses Treachery Behind His Royal Father'S Death. Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons) Plays Hamlet'S Mother Gertrude, All Too Dangerously Entangled In That Treachery. A Brilliant Supporting Cast, Including Alan Bates As Claudius, Paul Scofield As The Ghost Of Hamlet'S Father, Ian Holm As Polonius And Helena Bonham-Carter As Ophelia, Adds Its Powerful Presence To This Immortal Tale Of High Adventure And Evil Deeds. Big, Bold And Heroic, This Is A Vivid And Virile Hamlet For The Modern Age And All Time.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brings the play to life March 1 2013
By Phoebe
After teaching Hamlet to college students who had considerable difficulty understanding and appreciating Shakespeare's language, I showed this version of the play when it first came out on VHS, and the students loved it. The manner in which the actors, including Gibson, deliver their lines makes it very clear what each soliloquy and scene is about. I've used this version in several classes since then with students who could only be described as extremely unwilling to read Shakespeare, but they watched it, understood it, and enjoyed it. Afterwards, they had a greater appreciation of what they had read, and it truly did bring the play to life...for them and for me. For a popular audience, this version is a winner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Version Dec 26 2012
By Bobbi
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Even though this version portrays Hamlet as being in love with his mother, I still love it. I could do without the mother-son make out session, though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hamlet Sept. 19 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I am a great fan of Shakespeare - his Plays & Sonnets.
This is a great DVD with Mel Gibson & Glenn Close.
To be or not to be - You can't afford not to have this edition.
Highly recommended !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Madness in great ones must not unwatched go." April 19 2004
4.5 stars. First off, the look of this version is superb. The costumes are excellent and the set design is oftentimes awesome. There are also location shots that have stunning scenery with gorgeous landscapes. This is a tightened version of the famous play, clocking in at a mere 2hr.15min., but it still holds the heart of the play intact. This is "Hamlet" for the masses, lean and hungry, and without the bloated length of the entire play. As for the acting, there are some notable performances and there are some question marks. Mel Gibson portrays the title character. This was a great surprise back in 1990 to see an Action Film hero challenge himself as an actor. His performance may not be altogether perfect, but it is heartfelt, energetic, and loaded with enthusiasm. Alan Bates plays the King, and while he has no standout scenes, his performance is solid overall: subtle and villainous. Paul Scofield plays the ghost of Hamlet's father, and while he looks a little too lifelike to be considered an "apparition," his scenes are portrayed admirably. Glenn Close is Gertrude, the Queen of Denmark. She has two incredible scenes and holds her own throughout. One of her best and chilling scenes is when she realizes she has been poisoned and looks wide-eyed toward the King with disbelief and horror. What a moment! While many citics wrote that she was too young to be the mother of Hamlet, this minor note is easy to forget once the play is under way. The single greatest performance here belongs to Helena Bonham Carter as Ophelia. This is quite possibly the perfect portrayal of the character ever brought to the screen. I won't point out scenes here because her entire performance is outstanding. Read more ›
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not this time Mel! Oct. 29 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Well...if you want a chop job Hamlet this is the version to go for. Kenneth Branagh's version does a wonderful disgrace to this movie! I don't care wether Mel Gibson is good looking or not; he is not fit for the Shakesperean Stage/Screen. The only thing this movie is good for is high school students who didn't read the play and want to get the basic story. My friend and I laughed the whole way through and the only reason we survived is because it was happy hour at the campus bar. The script is wanting in every way possible and Glenn Close as Gertrude? Pass me another beer and you, well you should move on and see Branagh or Olivier's Hamlet!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Gibson Great... Zeffirelli Not so Much Oct. 8 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Gibson brings a wonderful dynamic to the role... but the rest of the film's direction by Zeffirelli is a travesty. The Freudian Oedipus complex? ... oh, please... done to death. The complete removal of the opening scene of the play (the ghost appears to the guards)? Well, that just about stops any forward momentum the play is meant to have at its start. And the almost complete removal of the Fortinbras subplot? Uh, that pretty much guts the parallel structure of the play.
Stick to the Branagh version instead!
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By A. Lee
Format:VHS Tape
If you go along with the actual script, this interpreation of the movie is a VERY big letdown. They take the script and play it completely how they want it, things like Act I, Scene I is not even apparent in the movie itself. Then large soliloqueys (Spelt that wrong) are really torn up and mixed about, for example he goes into the "To be or not to be" and somehow ends up in "Get the to a nunnery" which are two distinctly different parts in the original text. As for the play Hamlet, this movie is a tad under par in my opinion.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Vanity Production April 26 2002
Format:VHS Tape
When Franco Zefferelli directed his 1968 film of "Romeo and Juliet," the first person he approached to play the male lead was Paul McCartney. The Beatle turned down the offer, but Zefferelli enjoyed a phenomenal success by casting two unknowns with no Shakespearean experience in the title roles. The director doubtless hoped lightning would strike twice by casting the screen's reigning action star in one of the most demanding roles in the Shakespearean canon. The result is a staggeringly ordinary production, but a serviceable primer for those who want to familiarize themselves with the text.
The virtues of the film are many, with fine performances turned in by Helena Bonham Carter as Ophelia, Paul Scofield as the Ghost, and an especially memorable one by Glenn Close as an unusually dense Gertrude. Zefferelli also serves himself well by providing a brilliant and concisely edited screenplay; paring down the length and complications of the text for the masses, while retaining all the key characters and points of the story with the precision of a surgeon.
But the name of the play is "Hamlet," and this production is bogged down by Mel Gibson's lack of imagination or sustained sensitivity in the role. Gibson does not embarrass himself in the manner of Keanu Reeves or Michael Keaton in Kenneth Branaugh's "Much Ado About Nothing"; indeed in some scenes such as Hamlet's aborted attempt to return to Wittenberg or in his surprisingly touching reading of the "Alas, Poor Yorick" speech he is very effective. But this is the first film Hamlet not played by an actor who had already distinguished himself in the role on stage.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Since brevity is the soul of wit ...
I will be brief; though whether witty, too, as this production is ... why, I know not.
For 'tis not a trifle thing to take a play like Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and cut... Read more
Published on May 6 2005 by Themis-Athena
5.0 out of 5 stars best film version i've seen (and i've seen them all!)
through my endeavors i've had to read Hamlet 7 times (twice my senior year of high-school). much as i don't like Shakespeare this play is part of my life. Read more
Published on July 16 2004 by Kate C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Mel has captured Hamlet's soul
What a masterpiece. As much as I love Braveheart, I truly think this is Mel Gibson's finest work. It throws all over attempts into shadow, including the great Lawrence Olivier... Read more
Published on July 13 2004 by Michelle Owen West
5.0 out of 5 stars A great BRIEF history of The Bard's greatest Play
There are two main versions that currently work the best in getting a feel for this play, Gibson's & Brannaugh's. Read more
Published on June 20 2004 by Mark Showalter
4.0 out of 5 stars What a show!
While this version of Hamlet tends to skimp on the actual text, Mel Gibson puts on a great show here. Read more
Published on June 8 2004 by "ajlingo"
4.0 out of 5 stars My Very Favorite Mel Gibson Film!
Mel Gibson just SHINES as the ambivalent (but Oedipal) prince Hamlet in this adaptation as does Glenn (I boil baby rabbits) Close cast as his mother Gertrude, Helena (Fight Club)... Read more
Published on April 8 2004 by Sheila Chilcote-Collins
3.0 out of 5 stars Hamlet Cliff Notes
On the positive side, Mel Gibson looks and moves like a soldier, which of course is Hamlet's profession. This is probably the most athletic Hamlet you are likely to see. Read more
Published on April 6 2004 by James Steve Robles
5.0 out of 5 stars It's better than Branagh!
I thought they'd never release this version of "Hamlet"on DVD, but it's finally here, so we can rejoice! This is my favorite film version of "Hamlet. Read more
Published on April 5 2004 by Melissa Niksic
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but could be better
We all know the story so there is no need for me to summarize.
It's not a bad rendition but there are a few problems. Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by JC Shannon
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