• Laurence Olivier /
  • UK (England) /
  • 1948 /
  • 142 mins

Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Eileen Herlie, Basil Sydney, Felix Aylmer / Fiction / English

The definitive Shakespearean actor takes on the definitive angry young man.

In celebration of Laurence Olivier's centenary and our Written Word theme, we present handsomely restored prints of his three Bard-based classics. Of course, no Shakespeare play on film escapes without controversy. When it comes to this multiple Oscar®-winning 1948 Hamlet, critics through the ages have bemoaned Olivier's decision to emphasise the protagonist's indecision, to amp up his mother fixation, and to cut nearly two hours' worth of material (including poor old Rosencrantz and Guildenstern). But the black and white cinematography and the lavish production design are justly celebrated, as is Olivier's own brooding performance. Supporting cast includes Jean Simmons as Ophelia, Stanley Holloway as the Gravedigger, Anthony Quayle as Marcellus, and Peter Cushing as Osric. Christopher Lee shows up uncredited as - yes - a spear carrier.

2007 Archive

Image from Hamlet

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