Hamlet Vs Branagh's Hamlet

855 Words4 Pages
Out With The Old, In With The New
Many of us have heard the line, “To be or not to be,” from one of Hamlet’s famous soliloquies, but what is the meaning behind it? There is no right answer; the line can be interpreted in many ways by the reader. Similarly, directors and actors can interpret “Hamlet” and lines in “Hamlet” in many different ways. This has led to many productions of “Hamlet”, such as Franco Zeffirelli’s version and Kenneth Branagh’s version. Although these two particular versions were shot in the 1900’s, they are very distinct in their own ways due to sequencing, setting, costumes, and character portrayals in the movie.
While both movies had its positives and negatives, I preferred Branagh’s version over Zeffirelli’s version.
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While Zeffirelli’s version was set in the Elizabethan era, Branagh’s version was set in the 19th century. Zeffirelli’s setting had old buildings and castles built from stone,much like the Elizabethan era and similar to what the time period of “Hamlet”, while Branagh’s version was set in a glamorous, modern castle. The Elizabethan style of architect made Zeffirelli’s version more believable than the glitzy and Although Branagh’s setting maybe a downfall to his movie, it shows that the things that happened and the themes in “Hamlet” are universal and can be applied to any time period. The costumes in Zeffirelli’s showed the different social classes within the court. People with a higher social status within the court, such as Claudius, Gertrude, and Hamlet, wore more sophisticated clothing than the people from a lower status. In the movie, you can see that Gertrude wore intricate gowns and headpieces of the Elizabethan era while Ophelia wore white and dull colored plain…show more content…
Both the Hamlets and Ophelias in the two movies were polar opposites. In Zeffirelli’s, Hamlet was sad, mournful, and depressed while he was more mad and angry in Branagh’s version. This assumption is set very early on in the movies during Hamlet’s first soliloquy. Hamlet’s first soliloquy in Zeffirelli’s version is right after his father’s funeral and his mother’s wedding, making it so that Hamlet is still mourning over his father’s death. In Branagh’s version, there is a wedding scene, but no funeral scene, making it so that Hamlet seems to just be angry over the fact that his mother married his uncle. His tone, respectively, is carried throughout the play and gives a different interpretation on what Hamlet is saying in his soliloquies. For example, when Mel Gibson(Zeffirelli) says the To Be Or Not To Be soliloquy, it seems like he is confused on what to do because he goes to where his father is buried and leans on the grave as if he was asking for advice. When Branagh says the To Be Or Not To Be soliloquy, he seems revengeful and that he is going to act upon the secret that he knows. Also, he looks into the mirror while he is giving this soliloquy, giving the impression that Hamlet is ready to do something and is confident about it. Ophelia was also portrayed very differently in both movies, especially the cause of her death. In the Zeffirelli version, she was very crazy after her father died and
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