Laurence Olivier Henry Raynor - Essay

Anthony Holden

Henry Raynor

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In making Hamlet, Olivier emphasised the fact that his film was an "Essay" in interpretation, and in doing so did much to disarm criticism. (p. 10)

Olivier's description of his own Hamlet makes it possible to be more lenient than we might otherwise have been to the oddities of Alan Dent's revised script. Olivier has plucked, it seems, the heart out of Hamlet's mystery…. "This," Olivier said of his film by way of introduction, "is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind." There is sufficient tradition, theatrical as well as scholarly, behind this to make it irrelevant to suggest that the play contains subtleties hardly explained by such a simplification. Olivier has given...

(The entire section is 778 words.)