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Hamlet: Special Edition


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Frequently Bought Together

Hamlet: Special Edition + Hamlet (Sous-titres franais) + Great Performances: Macbeth
Price For All Three: CDN$ 60.45


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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: UNRATED
  • 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 (135 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JLCI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,312 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Hamlet: (1996) Special Edition (Dbl DVD)

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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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1 of 1 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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By fra7299 on June 29 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet" works so well on the big screen because the guy has a knack for Shakespeare, acting, directing, and knowing what "modern" audiences wanted out of a Shakespearean play. He takes the tale of Hamlet, prince of Denmark, and transports it to more of a modern setting (well, more modern than the 16th century). He assembles an all-star cast that includes Kate Winslett, Charlton Heston, Derek Jacobi, Billy Crystal, Jack Lemmon, Robin Williams among others in this adaptation of Shakespeare's classic.
Although 4 hours in length (mainly because every word in the play is inserted in the script), the stunning effect of the play is extraordinary. The backdrop for the ghost of Hamlet in the opening scene, the mirror used when Hamlet (Branaugh) is making his "To be or not to be" soliloquy, the palace in which Hamlet and Laertes fight, and the snowy landscape in which Fortenbras and his men arrive are all instances of using scenery and directing to update this version of the play.
Although the setting and interpretation of what Shakespeare intended are left in doubt, the movie itself is visually stunning and the acting is great. Although Branaugh hired a few American actors to take on some of Shakespeare's characters (for instance, Robin Williams plays Osric and Billy Crystal plays one of the gravediggers), there "American" accents are hardly noticed in the film.
As an educator, I also think this is a fantastic version to use as a resource for a study of the play. Because the dialogue is accurate to the play, it works well. Also, this version seemingly makes the work of Shakespeare easier to understand. (Although, as a warning, there is one scene with Winslet (Ophelia) and Branaugh (Hamlet) that is definitely "adult" in nature).
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