See 11 must-see films inspired by Shakespeare’s work – Culture

For Harold Bloom, William Shakespeare it is the center of the western canon. Discounting the Anglo-Saxon bias of the statement, the fact is that Shakespeare must be credited as one of the builders of the modern Western sensibility. With its unrivaled workmanship and inspirational and thematic that never runs out, it has become a critical and public success through the centuries. In this way, it was predictable that it would become one of (if not the most) adapted from the authors to the cinema.

Taking advantage of the launch of Macbeth’s Tragedy which seems to be historic, with Joel Coen in the direction, and denzel washington and Frances McDormand in leading roles, it’s worth recalling some of the Bard’s major adaptations for the big screen. There are several versions of the “cursed” piece alone:

‘Macbeth’ by Roman Polanski (1971)

Jon Finch is Macbeth and his wife is played by Francesca Annis. Macbeth is convinced by the witches that he can take King Duncan’s crown and assume power. One crime leads to others. One of the darkest adaptations of this already dreary text by Shakespeare, by a Polanski tormented by the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate. Available on HBO Max

‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Franco Zeffirelli (1968)

One of Shakespeare’s most popular plays gets a very literal adaptation here. Romeo (Leonard Whiting) and Juliet (Olivia Hussey) fall in love despite belonging to families that detest each other, the Montecchios and the Capulets. Watch on youtube

‘Amor Sublime Amor’ (West Side Story), by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise (1961)

One Romeo and Juliet in musical format, set in the United States. In a poor neighborhood of New York, rivalry between groups of Puerto Rican and North American immigrants of Anglo-Saxon origin is boiling. Maria (Natalie Wood) and Tony (Richard Beymer) love each other, but as they belong to rival groups, their fate will be tragic. The plot has now been taken up by Steven Spielberg (2021), with the same music (Leonard Bernstein) and lyrics (Stephen Sondheim), reproducing the basic conflict of the previous version, only exacerbated by current tensions. Watch on Amazon Prime Video.

‘Macbeth – Reign of Blood’ by Orson Welles (1948)

With the director himself in the lead role. The ambitious Lady Macbeth is played by Jeanette Nolan. As usual, Welles lends a Gothic tone to this tragedy of the insane quest for power. A masterpiece.

‘Bloodstained Throne’ by Akira Kurosawa (1957)

The striking figure of Toshiro Mifune takes on the role of the assassin king. Asaji Washizu is the ambitious woman, who sets her husband’s hand to crime. Harold Bloom considers it the best film adaptation of the play. won the Venice Festival. Actor and actress were also awarded at the Italian festival.

‘Othello’ by Orson Welles (1951)

Welles paints his face to play the jealous Moor, who kills his wife Desdemona (Suzanne Cloutier) at the instigation of the scheming Iago (Michéal MacLiammóir).

‘Che Cosa sono le Nuvole’, by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1968)

It is worth highlighting this creative (and moving) adaptation of othello made by Pier Paolo Pasolini. The center of the action comes from Iago (the comic Totò), who leads the intrigue in a simulacrum of a puppet theater. Ninetto Davoli embodies the doll that represents Othello. It is one of the episodes of the feature film Capricho à Italiana.

‘The Last Storm (Prospero’s Book)’, by Peter Greenaway (1991)

Perhaps the most complex adaptation of a Shakespeare work. The play itself is already complicated, with its many voices and the “play within a play” feature used by Shakespeare in other works such as Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dreams and Measure by Measure. John Gielgud embodies multiple voices in the midst of Greenaway’s baroque style, facilitated by new audiovisual technologies.

‘Ran’ by Akira Kurosawa (1985)

It is a free adaptation of the King Lear. A clan chief in medieval Japan announces that he intends to divide the kingdom between his three sons. The heart of the tragedy is rivalry and also the impasses of the division of power.

‘Hamlet’ by Grigory Kozintsev (1964)

The Soviet version is regarded as one of the most faithful, and possibly the best ever made, of the famous play. The prince (Innokenty Smoktunovsky) returns home, learns that his father has died and his mother has married his uncle. Classic, in this text, Hamlet’s hesitation in taking revenge, even instigated by the specter of his father. The play influenced even Freud, who saw this postponement of the reckoning as a symptom of the prince’s (unconscious) Oedipus Complex.

‘The Heritage’, by Ozualdo Candeias (1970)

It is, perhaps, Shakespeare’s best acclimation to Brazil. The Prince of Denmark, tormented by the death of his father, here becomes the son of a murdered farmer who seeks revenge. At the same time, the Brazilian reality, with the sertão and its dispossessed people, insinuates itself into the plot. Brilliant film, probably the best in Candeias.

About Hrishikesh Bhardwaj

Tv specialist. Falls down a lot. Typical troublemaker. Hipster-friendly advocate. Food fan.

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