FIRST FOLIO! Movies and TV with Shakespearean Loves, Guns and Laughs – Part 2

~posted by Marion

Shakespeare has influenced me on and off during the years. My junior high school English class read Macbeth (while the teacher actually personified Lady Macbeth, the class banded together and survived). In college, we read several plays for a Shakespeare literature class, and I fondly remember being in a study group which produced the play within A Midsummer’s Night Dream. I was, literally, the lantern doth shine with my own lantern and tree stem. And on a trip to Italy, the tour group stopped in Verona and gazed at the famous balcony of Romeo and Juliet. Plus, knowing some Shakespeare quotes wittingly helped me on some dates, including with the guy who’s now my husband.

As a movie lover, I enjoy seeing Shakespeare’s influence popping up in film and television. Sometimes it’s just a sentence or two that sounds like it’s referring to William, as I lovingly and respectfully refer to him. I especially like those that are inspired by the Bard, rather than the actual plays or adaptations. My favorite (and surely others as well) is the award winning Shakespeare in Love, a comedy where Joseph Fiennes‘ Shakespeare overcomes his writing block with the help of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Lady Viola.

In a nod to the First Folio Exhibit and to William, here are more movies and television shows where characters love thee so, where the worst is death, and there’s merrily much mirth and laughter.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead: Two minor characters from Hamlet, played by Gary Oldman and Tim Roth, embark on a journey and find players in a band along the way (including one played by Richard Dreyfuss). They ultimately help Prince Hamlet and discover more about themselves along the way.

Sátántangó:  Set in Hungary, 12 episodes in one film depict an abandoned farming community with cattle who roam free, farmers victimized by swindlers, along with tragedy, betrayal and a lot of rain.

Shakespeare Wallah: A family troupe of actors travel around post-colonial India, giving performances of Shakespeare plays. Loosely based on the travels of Geoffrey Kendal and his daughter, Felicity.

She’s the Man:  A teenage girl replaces her twin brother on the high school’s soccer team. Multiple teens fall in love with each other. Who’s really who?

Slings and Arrows: A Canadian comedy television series that ran for three seasons; each season focuses on a major play with feuding actors and directors of a regional theater festival.

Stage Beauty: Claire Danes stars as a theater dresser who ends up playing Desedmona in Othello. But only men can play women on the stage in the 17th century. Yet King Charles II is pleased. Men get upstaged but love may still be in the wings.

Ten Things I Hate About You: A new kid in high school meets a beautiful girl with an overprotective father. More guys and older sister complicate things. Who loves who?

William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet: A young Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo and Claire Danes as his Juliet, set in southern California’s Verona Beach.

Did you miss Part 1?


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