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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

HENRY V


Saw in a newpaper article recently that they had taken the old 1944 film of Shakespeare's "Henry V" and painstakingly restored and recoloured it to its original quality. It is now going the rounds of British Cinemas, either "art house" or special "classic evenings". The latter occasion arrived at our local cinema yesterday so we (wife and I) went along.
Vast queues outside and in the multiplex had us confused - surely Shakespeare was not THAT popular in our provincial town? This was resolved once inside - the "Bourne Conspiracy" was also showing!
As it was, our "screen" only contained about 30 people - we sat at the back and looked over the grey and bald heads (we felt at home). However a group of 6 girls, about 17, came in and sat in front of us. They were in rapt attention, gazing adoringly at Larry Olivier and laughing in all the right places at the Shakespearian "jokes". It was lovely to see and I imagine it must be their subject in this year's sixth form. So it will not die with our generation and that's encouraging!
Although I have heard and read it so often, I still sat with a catch in my throat, with tears streaming down my cheeks as Olivier proclaimed the "St. Crispin's Day" speech.
A great evening. The re-mastering has produced a vibrancy of colour that has been missing for 50-odd years. Worth seeing again if it comes your way. A pity that Olivier's dedication is now missing - it was so appropriate to the time of the film (1944) - but times move on, I suppose.

8 comments:

herhimnbryn said...

Just read the speech again...shivers.

Hope the film gets here. There's a little Art deco cinema that may well show it.

Granny J said...

As for the 16-year-olds, my niece's daughter is, like, into Shakespeare. She made the trip here this summer because we have a small troupe who do two plays each summer. I was quite surprised until I did a blog about one of the plays & was linked by another teen-ager who was in touch with teens around the country who love the Bard...

Vita said...

DD is 17 and professes a love of Shakespere. I have the Course of Honour now, but haven't cracked it yet. Waiting to finish current book. Also added word verification so I don't get ambushed.

Vita said...

Yes, gentler and quieter. DD's math teacher would say it leaves a smaller footprint.

Lee said...

It is always encouraging when the next generation 'discover' something like Shakespeare. Haven't seen the Olivier version of Henry V but saw another one (Richard Branaugh, I think) that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Lucy said...

Every generation is seen as less than the one before, but so far, happily, they all go on falling in love with Shakespeare. I can't confess to falling in love with Olivier, but I did with James Mason as Brutus and have never really fallen out.
So there wasn't really a spam takeover at Nea's after all; never mind, better to have the comment thing sorted I suppose.

Avus said...

HHnB: "shivers" indeed!
GRANNY and VITA: I find that enthusiasm in the young very encouraging. So, after all, it is not yet time to "rage against the dying of the light."
LEE: Funnily enough the Branagh version was on TV here the other night - competent but not stirring (for me anyway).
LUCY: I agree about Olivier - the man was an empty page, but what he became when acting is something else (Alec Guinness was very similar).
As to James Mason - one of my very favourite actors

Nea said...

I shall hope that it makes its way here to the states. I don't venture out to the movies much, but I would go to see this.....