Laurence Olivier James E. Phillips - Essay

Anthony Holden

James E. Phillips

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The film version of Richard III] simplifies and clarifies the basic political situation on which the entire plot action depends. Shakespeare's original relied on an Elizabethan audience's general knowledge of the Wars of the Roses, which were then no more remote than the Civil War is to present day American audiences, for an understanding of the intricate dynastic tangle in which Richard was involved…. By judicious cutting and rearrangement of Shakespearean material, supplemented by equally judicious borrowings from the Henry VI trilogy, Sir Laurence's adaptation deftly sketches the outlines of the family brawl that constitutes the action of the play. (pp. 399-400)

[However] are there...

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