But why is it that transferring Shakespeare to film is so hard? Well that's easy; Shakespeare is language based and film is image based. Film plays to our modern short attention span by showing us in a moment what Shakespeare takes 8-12 lines to describe. For example look at this quote from Hamlet where Gertrude is describing the stream where Ophelia drowned:
There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
What real brook could ever fit that wondrous description. Yet film will usually flash to images of the even while Gertrud narrate the action. The film will give us a image that our mind recognizes immediately; so why does the dialogue continue to describe it. The description is way more beautiful that what we are actually seeing; so the mind become confused by the disparity. All of this combined distances the observer from the story.
Shakespeare plays heavily to the imagination. It plays on our ability to e swept up in the story that goes beyond feasibility to brave new worlds that we haven't discovered yet.
Happy Birthday: Paul Gross (b. 1959)