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Hamlet is a 1990 film based on the Shakespearean play of the same name. Mel Gibson has the title role as the young Prince Hamlet, Glenn Close plays his mother, Queen Gertrude, Alan Bates plays his uncle, the now King Claudius, Paul Scofield appears as the ghost of Hamlet's Father, Ian Holm plays Polonius, and Helena Bonham Carter plays Ophelia. It was directed by Franco Zeffirelli. It was also the first film from Icon Productions, a company Gibson co-founded.

The cast includes three actors — Scofield, Bates, and Holm — who had themselves played Hamlet on stage or film. It also features two actors — Stephen Dillane and Michael Maloney — who went on to play Hamlet onstage.

The movie was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

Dunnottar Castlemarker, Stonehavenmarker, and Dover Castlemarker were used as locations in the film.

Adaptation and interpretation

Film scholar Deborah Cartmell has suggested that Zeffirelli's Shakespeare films are appealing because they are "sensual rather than cerebral", an approach by which he aims to make Shakespeare "even more popular". To this end, he cast Gibson — then famous for the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon films — in the title role. Cartmell also notes that the text is drastically cut, but with the effect of enhancing the roles of the women.

J. Lawrence Guntner has suggested that Zeffirelli's cinematography borrows heavily from the action film genre that made Gibson famous, noting that its average shot length is less than six seconds. In casting Gibson, the director has been said to have made the star's reputation part of the performance, encouraging the audience "to see the Gibson that they have come to expect from his other films" Indeed, Gibson was cast after Zeffirelli watched his character, Martin Riggs, contemplate suicide in Lethal Weapon. The fight between Hamlet and Laertes is an example of using Gibson's experience in action movies; the whole fight depicts Hamlet not as the dark and brooding character found in Shakespeare's text, but as a cocky fighter much like many of Gibson's previous roles.

Guntner has written that the casting of Close as Hamlet's mother (only nine years older than Gibson, and then famous as the psychotic "other woman" in Fatal Attraction) highlights the incest theme, leaving "little to our post-Freudian imagination" and Cartmell notes that Close and Gibson simulate sex in the closet scene, and "she dies after sexually suggestive jerking movements, with Hamlet positioned on top of her, his face covered with sweat".

References

  1. Keyishian, pp.72-81

External links




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