Episode 655: Shakespeare Adaptations

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18 Responses

  1. bob says:

    did i zone out, or did you guys omit Mel Gibson’s “Hamlet” adaptation? I don’t remember much about it, aside from a pretty loaded cast – except that it was the version we watched in my HS English Lit class. Also, they played up the “mommy issues” subtext pretty hard in that one.

    The only other ones i could think of are: Strange Brew (Hamlet), and “Hamlet 2” – which barely involves Hamlet and is more about Jesus, as i recall. Also, Community had that one episode where the drama teacher (guest star Kevin Corrigan) is mounting the play “Macbeth, but set in 1920’s Chicago”, much to Jeff Winger’s sneering contempt

    also: Gus Van Sant seems to think My Own Private Idaho is “Henry IV”, which i hadn’t considered, but…sure.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      Those came up in my research but I’ve never seen any of them.

      – David

    • Ryan says:

      They quote several passages verbatim from Henry IV in My Own Private Idaho. It’s Henry IV pretty much beat for best. They even have the homeless guy Bob playing Falstaff. Pretty stunned that you haven’t seen Gus van Sant or River Phoenix’s best movie, David. This is a bigger outrage than Tree’s Lounge.

  2. Marko says:

    Surprised you didn’t mention Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing.

  3. N. Smith says:

    Just an FYI, in Elizabethan times comedies were defined as having happy endings and tragedies had sad endings.

  4. Ryan says:

    Whedon also did an modern day version of Midsummer Night’s Dream that no one but me saw. Franz Krans plays Bottom and his head is turned into an actual human ass instead of a donkey. Aside from that unfortunate misstep, it’s pretty fun. Lily Rabe is a delight!

  5. Sabrina says:

    Loved this episode! It just reminded me how much I love Rosencrantz and Guidenstern Are Dead.
    Not sure if this counts, but a while ago the BBC did a series called Shakespeare Retold with feature-length adaptations. The productions of Macbeth (with a baby James McAvoy) and Much Ado About Nothing (with Damian Lewis) were actually pretty good.

    • Sabrina says:

      Oh and at the risk of being that person, when Tyler goes to Pennsylvania, ignore Wawa; go to Sheetz. It’s incredible. It makes Wawa look like a Sunoco.

      • Battleship Pretension says:

        I’ve heard great things about Sheetz too! There was some poll somewhere that said they have better restrooms than Wawa and I guess some people were pissed. I love a rivalry like that.

        – David

  6. Julius says:

    Confirming that The Lion King 1 1/2, the second direct-to-video sequel to The Lion King, is inspired by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Also, the first sequel, The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, is inspired by Romeo and Juliet.

    But I think the Hamlet connection with The Lion King is flimsy at best. You have a prince whose father is murdered by his uncle, and the father at one point appears to the son as a ghost; that’s about it. The theme of a usurper to the throne is a pretty common one, before and after Hamlet, and both stories have a completely different approach to even the most similar moments in the plot. When Hamlet’s father appears before him, he tells him he was murdered by Claudius and that he wants Hamlet to avenge him (nothing about Hamlet being the rightful king); Mufasa tells Simba that he is the rightful king (nothing about Scar killing him). Hamlet is motivated by revenge (something about which Simba barely worries), Simba by his wanting to be king (something Hamlet never even brings up).
    And Timon and Pumbaa are nothing like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; if we’re making Shakespeare comparisons, their role in the story is closer to Falstaff. Come to think of it, Scar is more like Richard III than Claudius. And the ‘circle of life’ theme is similar to the ‘chain of being’ from Macbeth (nature seems to revolt against Macbeth, the way it does against Scar). You can find Shakespearean ideas in there, but then, you can find them in any story about kingdoms.

    On Don John calling himself a ‘villain’: in Shakespeare’s time, that word didn’t mean ‘the bad guy’, but something more like ‘a low-class asshole.’

  7. FictionIsntReal says:

    Taymor’s Titus is great. Unfortunately, her take on The Tempest was more boring than Prospero’s Books or Forbidden Planet.

  8. Caleb McCandless says:

    I put together a potential theatrical screening series of Shakespeare adaptations/related films for a school project a few years ago. My main selection included Chimes at Midnight, Branagh’s Henry V, Kiss Me Kate (in 3D!), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Shakespeare-Wallah (a Merchant Ivory film about a Shakespeare troupe traveling through India), Strange Brew (which is about as much an adaptation of Hamlet as The Lion King), Titus, and Valley Girl (one of my all-time favorite films). I also threw in Forbidden Planet, Prospero’s Books, and Tromeo and Juliet as potential offerings. As I recall, both Shakespeare-Wallah and Valley Girl ended up getting screened in the series, though my blurb for Valley Girl – written in a cheeky valley girl dialect – got replaced with a pretty milquetoast synopsis.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      Weird that I forgot to mention Kiss Me Kate, as I’ve seen it, but also not weird because it stinks.

      – David

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