Laurence Olivier tells the story of "the tragedy of a man who couldn't make up his mind." After Hamlet's father, King Hamlet, dies, Hamlet's mother, Gertrude, remarries his brother, something which does not sit right with Hamlet. And when guards claim to see the ghost of King Hamlet, it goes to show the audience that "something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
There were only two actors that I recognized. Sir Laurence Olivier I know of because he is a well known actor (he was also in the 1940 Pride and Prejudice, but from the clips I've seen of it, I wasn't impressed). The other was Jean Simmons, who I've seen in Guys and Dolls and The Robe.
There are multiple ways of portraying Hamlet, particularly whether or not he really is crazy or just acting the entire time. I think Laurence Olivier portrayed the former. There were just times you could tell that Hamlet was just crazy.
|Jean Simmons as Ophelia|
Not much scenery to speak of. The whole movie is in black and white, so the set looks very dark. The dark setting would be fitting for Hamlet, since it is a tragedy and a very serious play.
The women's costumes were fine (but keep in mind, there are only two women in the whole play), the men's costumes, on the other hand, were nearly horrendous! If the costumes are historically accurate, then my opinion on this could just be that I don't like the costumes of the period, but I really didn't like the men's costumes. The shirts that the men wore were very puffy and excessively decorated: it was kind of loud and "out there".
|Claudius, Hamlet's uncle, talking to Hamlet (seated). Hamlet's|
mother, Gertrude, stands behind Hamlet.
Hamlet is not my favorite play by Shakespeare (course I've only read five of Shakespeare's plays); I don't hate it, but it's not my favorite; just somewhere in the middle. The overall themes are very serious and not exactly uplifting (plus there are a lot of implications and mature language).