Hamlet


2h 15m 1990

Brief Synopsis

An adaptation of Shakespeare's classic play about the Prince of Denmark troubled by his father's mysterious death and his mother's sudden remarriage to his uncle.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Adaptation
Drama
Release Date
1990
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)
Location
Dunnottar, Scotland, United Kingdom; Lee International Studios, Shepperton, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom; Kent, England, United Kingdom; Black Ness, Scotland, United Kingdom

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 15m

Synopsis

An adaptation of Shakespeare's classic play about the Prince of Denmark troubled by his father's mysterious death and his mother's sudden remarriage to his uncle.

Crew

Andrew Ackland-snow

Other

Brian Aldridge

Props

Angela Allen

Script Supervisor

Louis Alley

Other

Maurice Andrews

Other

Geoff Ball

Carpenter

David Barron

Production Supervisor

John Barton

Consultant

Gerry Bates

Boom Operator

Dave Baynham

Other

Cathy Bell

Casting Associate

Ernie Bell

Other

Otis A Bell

Production

Jill Bennett

Production Accountant

Fred Bewley

Other

Roy Birchley

Assistant Editor

John Birkenshaw

Wardrobe Assistant

Graham Blinco

Production

Celia Bobak

Production

Anne Brault

Assistant

Alan P Brooks

Carpenter

Fred Brown

Production

Fred Brown

Electrician

John Brown

Production

Derek Browne

Camera Operator

David Buckingham

Carpenter

Lois Burwell

Makeup

Peter Butler

Grip

Ray Campbell

Other

Francesca Castellano

Art Department

Franco Ceraolo

Art Director

George Chambers

Production

Allan Cheevers

Other

Jeremy Child

Assistant Editor

Fred Chiverton

Driver

Neil Clark

Other

Colin Clarke

Carpenter

Bernard Collins

Carpenter

Stanley Cook

Propman

Brian Cooper

Production

Franco Corridoni

Makeup Supervisor

Maria Teresa Corridoni

Hair

Allan B Croucher

Other

Nick Daubeny

Location Manager

Bruce Davey

Executive Producer

Steve Davies

Other

Richard Denyer

Carpenter

Terri Depaolo

Assistant

Christopher Devore

Screenplay

Dick Donaldson

Driver

Jim Donohue

Production

Joe Doyle

Other

Ramond Dyer

Carpenter

Keith Dyett

Carpenter

Stephen Ells

Carpenter

Barry Evans

Carpenter

Tim Evans

Medic

Noel Farrell

Other

Dante Ferretti

Production Designer

Chuck Finch

Gaffer

Tommy Finch

Other

Alan Flying

Wardrobe Assistant

Colin Fox

Other

Edward Francis

Props

Stan Fus

Location Assistant

Frank Gardiner

Assistant

Alberta Giuliani

Hair

Gavin Gordon

Carpenter

Paul Grange

Other

Terence Grange

Production

Andy Graver

Carpenter

Alan Grosch

Generator Operator

Roy Grove

Production

James Hackett

Carpenter

Graham Hall

Other

Kavin Hall

Other

Ray Hall

Grip

James Hambidge

Production Assistant

Keith Hamshere

Photography

Bob Harper

Other

Steve Harvey

Electrician

Darren Hayward

Carpenter

Michael Hayward

Carpenter

Bert Hearn

Property Master

Bill Henshaw

Other

Michael Hersey

Other

Bill Hobbs

Stunt Coordinator

Julie Hoffman

Assistant

Simon Hume

Other

Gregory James

Other

Billie Jardine-finlay

Location Assistant

Heather Jones

Hair

Paul Jones

Other

Paul Jones

Carpenter

Michael Kilgannon

Other

Peter Kyriacou

Driver

Michael Lamont

Art Director

Simon Lamont

Other

Cliff Lanning

Assistant Director

Geoff Lawrence

Wardrobe Assistant

David Eric Lee

Carpenter

Steven Leitch

Other

Alfonsina Lettieri

Assistant

Francesca Lo Schiavo

Set Decorator

Dyson Lovell

Producer

Dyson Lovell

Line Producer

John Lowen

Other

Lee Lighting Ltd

Lighting

Richard Lyon

Foreman

Ian Macfadyen

Other

Richard Marden

Editor

Mike Marks

Driver

Michael Martin

Production

Roz Maxwell

Other

Hugh Mckenzie

Carpenter

Michael Melia

Other

Bill Merrel

Other

Maurizio Millenotti

Costume Designer

Les Mills

Other

John Mister

Other

Ennio Morricone

Music

Allan Moss

Visual Effects

Peter Mounsey

Other

John Murphy

Other

Michael Murray

Assistant Director

Joyce Nettles

Casting

Maurice Newsome

Driver

Alf Newvell

Other

Terry Newvell

Production

Ron Nichollas

Other

Trevor Nicol

Carpenter

Lindy Noakes

Accounting Assistant

Gary Norris

Other

Ray Norris

Carpenter

Gillian Noyes-court

Scenic Artist

Alison O'dell

Assistant

Patrick O'loughnane

Carpenter

Josephine O'neill

Accounting Assistant

Keegan O'neill

Production Assistant

Arnold Oke

Carpenter

Nick Penn

Camera

John Pitt

Sound

Gary Pledger

Carpenter

Richard Pointing

Wardrobe Supervisor

Alan Powell

Other

Stephen Powell

Other

Mickey Pugh

Props

Michael Redding

Construction Coordinator

Stuart Reid

Electrician

Roy Rodgers

Visual Effects

Ian Rolfe

Other

Jose Romero

Other

Kay Rouse

Assistant

Richard Rowlands

Other

Jean-luc Russier

Makeup

Nick Russo

Carpenter

Cynthia Sadler

Art Assistant

Barry Sams

Production

Roy Seers

Other

Enrico Serafini

Assistant

William Shakespeare

Play As Source Material

Keith Shannon

Other

Lee Shelley

Other

Ted Sinclair

Carpenter

Mike Smith

Carpenter

Adam Somner

Location Assistant

Clare St. John

Production Coordinator

David Stephenson

Sound

Roy Street

Other

Sally Sutton

Makeup

Antonio Tarolla

Art Director

Don Taylor

Other

Jonathan Taylor

Camera Operator

Alan Tomkins

Art Director

Gerry Toomey

Assistant Director

Paul Tucker

Production Associate

Kevin Turner

Other

Toby Tyler

Electrician

Sara-jane Valentine

Production Assistant

Robert Walker

Set Decorator

Shaun Walsh

Carpenter

David Watkin

Director Of Photography

David M Watson

Special Effects

David Weller

Other

John Wells

Props

Brian West

Props

Brian Western

Other

Kevin Westley

Assistant Director

Alan Williams

Other

Stephen Williams

Carpenter

Mark Williamson

Carpenter

Pat Williamson

Wardrobe Assistant

John Willis

Other

Ken Wilson

Production

Julia Wilson-dickson

Other

Ian Wingrove

Special Effects Supervisor

Elizabeth Woodthorpe

Production Associate

Joe Woodward

Other

Franco Zeffirelli

Screenplay

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Adaptation
Drama
Release Date
1990
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)
Location
Dunnottar, Scotland, United Kingdom; Lee International Studios, Shepperton, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom; Kent, England, United Kingdom; Black Ness, Scotland, United Kingdom

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 15m

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1990
Dante Ferretti

Best Costume Design

1990

Articles

Hamlet (1990) - Mel Gibson in Hamlet


Filmed Shakespearean plays have always existed in a sort of limbo as far as public acceptance goes, regardless of whether or not they received critical praise. Most modern movie fans are simply intimidated by people in pantaloons, and any phrasing that isn't regularly heard on the average American street corner is considered too high brow for public consumption. More adventurous types, on the other hand, might be able to handle a little bit of poetry, but not too much, as they have to get done in time to watch the game on TV.

Well, Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet (now available on Warner Video) seems custom-tailored to today's audience...not that it made much money when it was first released. Zeffirelli and his star, some good-looking guy named Mel Gibson, have constructed a sort of Hamlet-Lite that runs less than half as long as the full play, although it still contains a few solid performances and features lots of neat speeches and murderous histrionics. It's over before you know it, which, you have to figure, is exactly what some people want to hear.

Kenneth Branagh's much more effective four-hour version of Hamlet, which was filmed six years after Zeffirelli's, suggests that, major piece of writing or not, a complete cinematic unveiling of this tale of betrayal and madness can still be a chore to sit through. But Zeffirelli and his co-screenwriter, Christopher De Vore, excise subplots involving entire countries, in favor of little more than one Dane's screwed up family life. Though this is a very handsomely mounted production, it's the movie equivalent of sitting down for a meal of steak and potatoes, only to have the steak cut in half and the potatoes thrown away before you start eating.

Gibson, as you might expect, plays Hamlet, and he's actually pretty good. He hardly leaves you lamenting the theater's great loss when he opted to make a career out of movies, but he doesn't embarrass himself either. His performance is more animated and wall-to-wall forceful than purists might expect it to be, which is just fine. At least he doesn't pull Lethal Weapon-style "crazy faces" when the going gets tough, and he carries himself in a manner that's in keeping with the period. He focuses on the character, rather than expecting the audience to swoon at his mere screen presence, and he should be applauded for it.

The rest of the cast acquits itself nicely. Glenn Close ­not anywhere near old enough, but still playing Hamlet's treacherous mother, Gertrude - is twice the actor that Gibson is, and seems to know it. There are moments when she's Acting with a capital "A", although she keeps it in check most of the time. Alan Bates (Claudius), Ian Holm (Polonious), and Helena Bonham Carter (Ophelia) are the other big names on hand. Bates and Carter get the job done, no complaints. But Holm is one of the screen's great underrated actors, and, as usual, he delivers sly, sharply focused work. Still, nobody seems too worried about going to war with Norway, and it's more than a little bit off-putting if you've been here before.

The digital transfer is gorgeous, and you get a couple of decent, Gibson-based featurettes. One is Hamlet: An Actor's Journey,in which Gibson sits for a laid back interview about playing the Dane. Rather surprisingly, he admits that the play is best suited to the stage and doesn't really come across in all its glory on film. The other bonus, Mel Gibson: To Be Or Not to Be, is Gibson's video journal of making the film, complete with a case of cold feet, the building of sets, and actors feeling each other out at rehearsals.

For more information about Hamlet, visit Warner Video. To order Hamlet, go to TCM Shopping.

by Paul Tatara

Hamlet (1990) - Mel Gibson In Hamlet

Hamlet (1990) - Mel Gibson in Hamlet

Filmed Shakespearean plays have always existed in a sort of limbo as far as public acceptance goes, regardless of whether or not they received critical praise. Most modern movie fans are simply intimidated by people in pantaloons, and any phrasing that isn't regularly heard on the average American street corner is considered too high brow for public consumption. More adventurous types, on the other hand, might be able to handle a little bit of poetry, but not too much, as they have to get done in time to watch the game on TV. Well, Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet (now available on Warner Video) seems custom-tailored to today's audience...not that it made much money when it was first released. Zeffirelli and his star, some good-looking guy named Mel Gibson, have constructed a sort of Hamlet-Lite that runs less than half as long as the full play, although it still contains a few solid performances and features lots of neat speeches and murderous histrionics. It's over before you know it, which, you have to figure, is exactly what some people want to hear. Kenneth Branagh's much more effective four-hour version of Hamlet, which was filmed six years after Zeffirelli's, suggests that, major piece of writing or not, a complete cinematic unveiling of this tale of betrayal and madness can still be a chore to sit through. But Zeffirelli and his co-screenwriter, Christopher De Vore, excise subplots involving entire countries, in favor of little more than one Dane's screwed up family life. Though this is a very handsomely mounted production, it's the movie equivalent of sitting down for a meal of steak and potatoes, only to have the steak cut in half and the potatoes thrown away before you start eating. Gibson, as you might expect, plays Hamlet, and he's actually pretty good. He hardly leaves you lamenting the theater's great loss when he opted to make a career out of movies, but he doesn't embarrass himself either. His performance is more animated and wall-to-wall forceful than purists might expect it to be, which is just fine. At least he doesn't pull Lethal Weapon-style "crazy faces" when the going gets tough, and he carries himself in a manner that's in keeping with the period. He focuses on the character, rather than expecting the audience to swoon at his mere screen presence, and he should be applauded for it. The rest of the cast acquits itself nicely. Glenn Close ­not anywhere near old enough, but still playing Hamlet's treacherous mother, Gertrude - is twice the actor that Gibson is, and seems to know it. There are moments when she's Acting with a capital "A", although she keeps it in check most of the time. Alan Bates (Claudius), Ian Holm (Polonious), and Helena Bonham Carter (Ophelia) are the other big names on hand. Bates and Carter get the job done, no complaints. But Holm is one of the screen's great underrated actors, and, as usual, he delivers sly, sharply focused work. Still, nobody seems too worried about going to war with Norway, and it's more than a little bit off-putting if you've been here before. The digital transfer is gorgeous, and you get a couple of decent, Gibson-based featurettes. One is Hamlet: An Actor's Journey,in which Gibson sits for a laid back interview about playing the Dane. Rather surprisingly, he admits that the play is best suited to the stage and doesn't really come across in all its glory on film. The other bonus, Mel Gibson: To Be Or Not to Be, is Gibson's video journal of making the film, complete with a case of cold feet, the building of sets, and actors feeling each other out at rehearsals. For more information about Hamlet, visit Warner Video. To order Hamlet, go to TCM Shopping. by Paul Tatara

Sir Alan Bates (1934-2003)


Sir Alan Bates, the versatile British actor, who held a distinguished career on both stage and screen, via a string of outstanding roles in both classical (Shakespeare, Chekhov, Ibsen) and contemporary (Pinter, Osborne, Stoppard) drama, died of pancreatic cancer on December 27th in London. He was 69.

Born Alan Arthur Bates on February 17th, 1934 in Derbyshire, England, Bates was the son of amateur musicians who wanted their son to become a concert pianist, but the young man had other ambitions, bluntly declaring to his parents that he had his sights set on an acting career when he was still in secondary school. He eventually earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, but had his career briefly interrupted with a two-year stint in the Royal Air Force. Soon after his discharge, Bates immediately joined the new English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre and by 1955 he had found steady stage work in London's West End theatre district.

The following year, Bates made a notable mark in English theatre circles when he starred as Cliff Lewis in John Osborne's charging drama about a disaffected, working-class British youth in Look Back in Anger. Bates' enormous stage presence along with his brooding good looks and youthfulness (he was only 22 at the time of the play's run) made him a star and promised great things for his future.

Four years later, Bates made a solid film debut in Tony Richardson's The Entertainer (1960) as the son of a failing seaside entertainer, played by Sir Laurence Olivier. Yet it would be his next two films that would leave an indelible impression in '60s British cinema; Bryan Forbes' Whistle Down the Wind (1961) and John Schlesinger's A Kind of Loving (1962). Bates' performances as a murderer on the lam who finds solace at a farm house in the company of children in the former, and a young working-class husband who struggles with his identity in a loveless marriage in the latter, were such finely nuanced portrayals of loners coping with an oppressive social order that he struck a chord with both audiences and critics alike. Soon, Bates was considered a key actor in the "angry young men" movement of the decade that included Albert Finney and Tom Courtney.

For the next ten years, Bates simply moved from strength to strength as he chose film roles that both highlighted his range and raised his stock as an international celebrity: reprising his stage role as the brutish thug Mick in the film adaptation of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker (1963); starring alongside Anthony Quinn as the impressionable young writer Basil in Zorba the Greek (1964); the raffish charmer Jos who falls in love with Lynn Redgrave in the mod comedy Georgy Girl; the bemused young soldier who falls in love with a young mental patient (a radiantly young Genevieve Bujold) in the subdued anti-was satire King of Hearts (both 1966); reuniting with director Schlesinger again in the effective period drama Far from the Madding Crowd (1967); a Russian Jew falsely accused of murder in John Frankenheimer's The Fixer (1968, remarkably, his only Oscar nomination); as Rupert, the freethinking fellow who craves love and understanding in Ken Russell's superb Women in Love (1969); playing Vershinin in Sir Laurence Olivier's underrated The Three Sisters (1970); opposite Julie Christie in Joseph Losey's tale of forbidden love The Go-Between (1971); and his moving, near-tragic performance as Bri, a father who struggles daily to maintain his sanity while raising a mentally disabled daughter in the snarking black comedy A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972).

Bates would slow down his film work, concentrating on the stage for the next few years, including a Tony award winning turn on Broadway for his role in Butley (1972), but he reemerged strongly in the late '70s in three good films: a conniving womanizer in The Shout; Jill Clayburgh's love interest in Paul Mazursky's hit An Unmarried Woman (1978); and as Rudge, Bette Midler's overbearing manager in The Rose (1979).

By the '80s, Bates filled out somewhat physically, but his now burly presence looked just right in some quality roles: as the notorious spy, Guy Burgess, in John Schlesinger's acclaimed mini-series An Englishman Abroad (1983); a lonely homosexual who cares for his incarcerated lovers' dog in the charming comedy We think the World of You (1988); and a superb Claudius in Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet (1990).

Tragically, Bates lost his son Tristan to an asthma attack in 1990; and lost his wife, actress Victoria Ward, in 1992. This led to too few film roles for the next several years, although he remained quite active on stage and television. However, just recently, Bates has had some choice moments on the silver screen, most notably as the butler Mr. Jennings in Robert Altman's murder mystery Gosford Park (2001); and scored a great comic coup as a gun-toting, flag-waving Hollywood has-been in a very broad satire about the Canadian movie industry Hollywood North (2003). Also, theatre fans had a treat when Bates appeared on Broadway last year to critical acclaim (and won a second Tony award) for his portrayal of an impoverished 19th century Russian nobleman in Fortune's Fool (2002). Most deservedly, he was knighted earlier this year for his fine contributions as an actor in all major mediums. Sir Alan Bates is survived by two brothers Martin and Jon, son Benedick and a granddaughter.

by Michael T. Toole

Sir Alan Bates (1934-2003)

Sir Alan Bates, the versatile British actor, who held a distinguished career on both stage and screen, via a string of outstanding roles in both classical (Shakespeare, Chekhov, Ibsen) and contemporary (Pinter, Osborne, Stoppard) drama, died of pancreatic cancer on December 27th in London. He was 69. Born Alan Arthur Bates on February 17th, 1934 in Derbyshire, England, Bates was the son of amateur musicians who wanted their son to become a concert pianist, but the young man had other ambitions, bluntly declaring to his parents that he had his sights set on an acting career when he was still in secondary school. He eventually earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, but had his career briefly interrupted with a two-year stint in the Royal Air Force. Soon after his discharge, Bates immediately joined the new English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre and by 1955 he had found steady stage work in London's West End theatre district. The following year, Bates made a notable mark in English theatre circles when he starred as Cliff Lewis in John Osborne's charging drama about a disaffected, working-class British youth in Look Back in Anger. Bates' enormous stage presence along with his brooding good looks and youthfulness (he was only 22 at the time of the play's run) made him a star and promised great things for his future. Four years later, Bates made a solid film debut in Tony Richardson's The Entertainer (1960) as the son of a failing seaside entertainer, played by Sir Laurence Olivier. Yet it would be his next two films that would leave an indelible impression in '60s British cinema; Bryan Forbes' Whistle Down the Wind (1961) and John Schlesinger's A Kind of Loving (1962). Bates' performances as a murderer on the lam who finds solace at a farm house in the company of children in the former, and a young working-class husband who struggles with his identity in a loveless marriage in the latter, were such finely nuanced portrayals of loners coping with an oppressive social order that he struck a chord with both audiences and critics alike. Soon, Bates was considered a key actor in the "angry young men" movement of the decade that included Albert Finney and Tom Courtney. For the next ten years, Bates simply moved from strength to strength as he chose film roles that both highlighted his range and raised his stock as an international celebrity: reprising his stage role as the brutish thug Mick in the film adaptation of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker (1963); starring alongside Anthony Quinn as the impressionable young writer Basil in Zorba the Greek (1964); the raffish charmer Jos who falls in love with Lynn Redgrave in the mod comedy Georgy Girl; the bemused young soldier who falls in love with a young mental patient (a radiantly young Genevieve Bujold) in the subdued anti-was satire King of Hearts (both 1966); reuniting with director Schlesinger again in the effective period drama Far from the Madding Crowd (1967); a Russian Jew falsely accused of murder in John Frankenheimer's The Fixer (1968, remarkably, his only Oscar nomination); as Rupert, the freethinking fellow who craves love and understanding in Ken Russell's superb Women in Love (1969); playing Vershinin in Sir Laurence Olivier's underrated The Three Sisters (1970); opposite Julie Christie in Joseph Losey's tale of forbidden love The Go-Between (1971); and his moving, near-tragic performance as Bri, a father who struggles daily to maintain his sanity while raising a mentally disabled daughter in the snarking black comedy A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972). Bates would slow down his film work, concentrating on the stage for the next few years, including a Tony award winning turn on Broadway for his role in Butley (1972), but he reemerged strongly in the late '70s in three good films: a conniving womanizer in The Shout; Jill Clayburgh's love interest in Paul Mazursky's hit An Unmarried Woman (1978); and as Rudge, Bette Midler's overbearing manager in The Rose (1979). By the '80s, Bates filled out somewhat physically, but his now burly presence looked just right in some quality roles: as the notorious spy, Guy Burgess, in John Schlesinger's acclaimed mini-series An Englishman Abroad (1983); a lonely homosexual who cares for his incarcerated lovers' dog in the charming comedy We think the World of You (1988); and a superb Claudius in Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet (1990). Tragically, Bates lost his son Tristan to an asthma attack in 1990; and lost his wife, actress Victoria Ward, in 1992. This led to too few film roles for the next several years, although he remained quite active on stage and television. However, just recently, Bates has had some choice moments on the silver screen, most notably as the butler Mr. Jennings in Robert Altman's murder mystery Gosford Park (2001); and scored a great comic coup as a gun-toting, flag-waving Hollywood has-been in a very broad satire about the Canadian movie industry Hollywood North (2003). Also, theatre fans had a treat when Bates appeared on Broadway last year to critical acclaim (and won a second Tony award) for his portrayal of an impoverished 19th century Russian nobleman in Fortune's Fool (2002). Most deservedly, he was knighted earlier this year for his fine contributions as an actor in all major mediums. Sir Alan Bates is survived by two brothers Martin and Jon, son Benedick and a granddaughter. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Expanded Release in United States January 18, 1991

Wide Release in United States February 8, 1991

Released in United States on Video July 24, 1991

Released in United States June 1991

Released in United States August 1991

Released in United States January 2003

Shown at Filmfest Munich (International Program) June 1991.

Shown at Norwegian Film Festival in Haugesund August 18-24, 1991.

Shown at Palm Springs International Film Festival (Retro) January 9-20, 2003.

First day of principal photography, April 23, 1990, is notable in that William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 and died--52 years later--on April 23, 1616.

Orion Pictures and Paramount Pictures were reportedly interested in domestic distribution rights.

Began shooting April 23, 1990.

Completed shooting July 14, 1990

ICON Productions is actor Mel Gibson's production company.

Released in United States Winter December 19, 1990

Expanded Release in United States January 18, 1991

Wide Release in United States February 8, 1991

Released in United States on Video July 24, 1991

Released in United States August 1991 (Shown at Norwegian Film Festival in Haugesund August 18-24, 1991.)

Released in United States January 2003 (Shown at Palm Springs International Film Festival (Retro) January 9-20, 2003.)

Released in United States Winter December 19, 1990

Released in United States June 1991 (Shown at Filmfest Munich (International Program) June 1991.)