Monday, October 25, 2010

Henry V & the Battle of Agincourt

Recently I found myself becoming enamored of the works of William Shakespeare and how they have translated to film and television. Two weeks ago I spent the entire weekend watching five films based on Shakespeare's plays and one of them, Henry V, has an anniversary of sorts today. In 1415 King Henry V defeated the French at Agincourt furthering his advances to reign over France, which finally occurred in 1420. The young king's rousing speech to his troops is mesmerizing to watch and gave us that wonderful first line: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers", which of course became the title of the HBO series Band of Brothers.

Other Shakespeare films that I enjoyed were Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Love's Labour's Lost, and Hamlet. The library does not have a copy of Love's Labour's Lost, but you should be able to obtain one through the Interlibrary Loan system.

I have also prepared myself for the newest Shakespeare movie The Tempest starring Helen Mirren by reading the play in its original form and the No Fear version to fully understand the story. Instead of a male character playing the lead of Prospero, the director Julie Taymor went a different route creatively and Ms. Mirren will be playing the role of Prospera. It should make for a lively film. While Shakespeare is often seen as dull and boring by many, the Bard of Avalon had his finger on the pulse of humanity and all of our foibles, thus making his words as powerful today as they were then.

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