Archive for September 16th, 2011

by Brandie Ashe

When it comes to adaptations of Shakespeare’s work, you definitely have your hits and your misses. Sometimes, the straight, by-the-play performances are really well done (1993′s Much Ado About Nothing; both Laurence Olivier’s 1948 version AND Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 version of Hamlet, despite Olivier’s revisions of the original text); in some cases, they are decidedly not (1999′s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which suffers from piss-poor casting; the horrendous 1996 Baz Luhrmann version of Romeo+Juliet, a spectacle that makes me fear for the director’s upcoming bastardization adaptation of The Great Gatsby). And some of the loose adaptations are really fun–I am particularly fond of 1956’s Forbidden Planet (which shares many similarities with The Tempest, my personal favorite of the Bard’s works); the 1961 musical West Side Story (a lovely take on the star-crossed lovers theme from Romeo and Juliet); and 1991′s My Own Private Idaho (which is based, in part, on Henry IV, Part I). And I will readily admit that I shall always have a soft spot in my heart for 1999′s 10 Things I Hate About You (hey, that really movie spoke to me as a teenager, okay?).

As with 10 Things, the enchanting musical Kiss Me Kate (1953) takes its cue from The Taming of the Shrew, one of Shakespeare’s more enjoyable comedies. The film is based on the Cole Porter musical of the same name, and its structure is quite Shakespearean—it has the same “play-within-in-play” setup that is one of the hallmarks of Hamlet. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(Sweden 1948 106m) DVD2 (Sweden only, no English subs)

Aka. Banketten 

For ‘The Torch’

p  Hasse Ekman  d/w  Hasse Ekman  novel  Marika Stiernstedt  ph  Goster Roosling  ed  Lennart Wallen  m  Willy Mattes  art  Bibi Lindstrom

Ernst Eklund (Jakob Cotton), Elsa Carlsson (Agnes Cotton), Sture Lagerwall (Pierre Cotton), Eva Henning (Victoria Stenbrott), Hasse Ekman (Hugo Stenbrott), Sven Lindberg (Ivar Cotton), Birgir Malmsten (Rex Lundgren), Jan Molander (Sixten), Hilda Borgström (Aunt Alberta),

The commonly perceived notion of postwar Swedish cinema was of an industry living in an extended form of cinematic interregnum, one which had lasted from the departure of the great silent directors to Hollywood and which would remain in situ until Young Pretender Ingmar Bergman succeeded to the throne with Charles Magnusson’s blessing.  Yet taking a look at Bergman’s work as a director between 1946 and 1950, nothing really special stands out.  The best of the bunch was Three Strange Loves in 1949, which starred Eva Henning. 

            When one comes to list the great Swedish screen actresses, the average list begins with those two future Hollywood scions Garbo and Bergman and ends with Ingmar’s great quintet, Thulin, Ullmann, Lindblom and the two divine Anderssons.  It’s easy to forget so many others, from Anita Björk and Mai Zetterling to Gunn Wallgren, Henning to Maj-Britt Nilsson and Eva Dahlbeck to Signe Hasso.  In his Biographical Dictionary David Thomson once wondered why Anita Björk was so neglected by the master, not seen in his work after Waiting Women until the 1990s.  Equally potent may be the question of why Eva Henning never worked with him after Three Strange Loves.  The answer was that she almost exclusively appeared for her husband, actor-director Hasse Ekman, and it was in his films in the post-war period that she was at her peak.   (more…)

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