Laurence Olivier Foster Hirsch - Essay

Anthony Holden

Foster Hirsch

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In making Hamlet (in 1947), Olivier was concerned, as he had been with Henry V, about avoiding the static quality of filmed theater. Without sacrificing the integrity of the play, he wanted to give visual fluency to theatrical material. Hamlet, of course, is radically different from Henry V, and in moving from the extroverted spectacle of the chronicle play to Shakespeare's most introverted chamber drama, Olivier altered his style severely: the dark, moody, claustrophobic atmosphere of this second adaptation provides a striking contrast to the bright holiday tones of Henry. (p. 79)

Set in cavernous, sparsely furnished rooms in which the vast space is fragmented by...

(The entire section is 3358 words.)