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Hamlet: Special Edition


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Hamlet: Special Edition + Hamlet (BBC) + Hamlet (Sous-titres franais)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Kenneth Branagh, Julie Christie, Kate Winslet, Billy Crystal, Derek Jacobi
  • Directors: Kenneth Branagh
  • Writers: Kenneth Branagh
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Ages 14 and over
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13
  • Studio: Warner Bros. Home Video
  • Release Date: Aug. 14 2007
  • Run Time: 242 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JLCI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,561 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Hamlet: (1996) Special Edition (Dbl DVD)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Scott Schiefelbein on June 16 2004
Format: VHS Tape
"Hamlet" is obviously the gold standard for actors -- pull off the melancholy Dane, and you've just about reached the top of your craft. Kenneth Branagh's turn as everyone's favorite soliloquist is an ambitious, bold, wonderful film that just misses the mark.
First, the high points (and there are many). By daring to film the entire (four hour!) production, Branagh has paid both Shakespeare and his audience the ultimate compliment. As Branagh's characters spelled out in his comic gem, "A Midwinter's Tale," cutting "Hamlet" from its full four-hour length to a two-plus hour length is one of the most difficult editorial processes you'll ever try, but everyone does it because nobody stays in their seats for four hours anymore. By telling the "whole story," Branagh fleshes out minor characters and provides more context for the story (for example, Claudius has a more precarious political position than many truncated versions depict, and his negotiations with Laertes become more important).
Branagh's Hamlet is a bright, dynamic individual, full of rage and yet stymied by his ability to see more than one side of the situation. (As has been pointed out by wiser folks than I, if Hamlet and Othello were transposed, there wouldn't be any plays! Othello would have murdered Claudius in the first act, and Hamlet would have seen through Iago's plotting and outsmarted him.) He's a product of his home, which is a surprisingly well-lit, semi-modern location -- most productions cast Elsinore as a fairly gloomy place.
Showing off a buffness that was not present in his earlier films (in "Henry V," Branagh is comparatively doughy), Branagh nails the part.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C Booth on May 7 2004
Format: VHS Tape
I cannot add to the wonderful reviews for this film but I would like to tell of my personal experience with it.
I have a teen-age daughter who was struggling with English Lit. She hated reading (always had). She had to read various classics and was especially struggling with Hamlet. She could not understand it, but, plodded through it anyway. The cliff notes confused her. I came across this movie at the video rental place and decided to try it to see if it would help. After watching the video, she was so excited about the story of Hamlet that she immediately read it again, then watched the movie again. We both found the movie to be extremely true to the original writing. The greatest thing about this movie is that it gave my daughter the drive to read. FINALLY. I had given up on her ever being able to enjoy reading, now she would rather read than watch TV. I give all the credit to this movie. Now, if a movie comes out based on a book she always reads the book if she watches the movie.
The only criticism I have is that I WANT THIS ON DVD and it isn't available.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By harsil on Dec 31 2014
Format: VHS Tape
The chief virtue of Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 Hamlet is that it’s essentially complete, though this could be construed as a mixed blessing, given that Shakespeare is unlikely ever to have produced a complete production himself and that it may never have occurred to him that anyone would ever try to do so. Its key weakness, though, to my mind, is the other aspect of its ambition: Branagh has a tendency to focus on gorgeousness over interpretation (or faithfulness) in his Shakespeare films, and in this case, all the luxury and the focus on beauteous film-making distract both him and us from the substance of the play, and take the whole thing down several notches. The play, as written, has a heavy atmosphere of darkness and sickness and paranoia and claustrophobia, and this atmosphere is a key element of it; this film has too much glamour and glitz, too much space, and way, way too much light. It completely excises the flavouring that ought to overhang the play. (The film was shot at Blenheim Palace, which is, admittedly, gorgeous.)

I’m not sure that Branagh is all that strong an actor, either, and in this case his talent doesn’t match his ambition; though there’s nothing really wrong with his performance, there’s nothing particularly right about it either, and you never get the feeling that he’s really gotten to the heart of the character; he misses much of the nobility, as well as the existential angst; there’s nothing underlying his antic, and you lose sight of the method and the seriousness, the melancholy and the profundity of the character — and thus the point. Having said that, there are several good passages: he’s strong in the scene right after the play within the play, for example, if not so good during it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Beasley on Nov. 2 2009
Format: DVD
I admire Branaugh's boldness in making a completely uncut version of Hamlet at four hours long. This may be too long for some viewers, but I am a bard addict, so it works for me! This seems to be a controversial version of the film in that people either seem to love it or hate it. Count me among one of those who loves it.

Branaugh captures the complexities of Hamlet's character. He acts melancholy, manic, angry, and witty at all the right moments (in my opinion).

Some have criticized Kate Winslet as Ophelia, but I think she does a suprisingly good job. She really looks and sounds emotionally broken in her "mad" scenes.

I also really liked the choice of a vibrant and beautiful Elsinore. I think it represents the hypocrisy of Claudius, charming and attractive on the outside but corrupt and rotten on the inside. Not everything that is corrupt and dark in this world necessarily looks that way in terms of appearences.

Most importantly, this movie moved me: it struck my emotional nerves. I was saddened when Gertrude reported Ophelia's drowning, I laughed at Hamlet and the gravedigger's witty jokes, and I was angered by Claudius' machinations. When a movie, through the actors, is able to move me on an emotional level, I definitely admire it.

Matt
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