Olivier - but not at his best
This mini-version version of Hamlet is beautifully filmed and heavy with Freudian imagery. The supporting cast is superb, especially Polonius, and the costumes and setting are exactly right. But too much has been taken out from the full text and the wonder of the play is largely lost. Olivier's performance adds to the sense of loss; his Hamlet doesn't bring out the acute moral burden his character should feel; his actions are incoherent and you won't end up loving him and being weighed with the sense of tragedy that Shakespeare so magnificently develops in the full text. A very worthwhile piece of movie history, but if this is your first Hamlet, don't make it your last.
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