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Tuesday, 08 March 2011


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Off subject, but I thogh you would enjoy. Henry V times four.

But it is a speech and it is free.

I think the camaflage and red beret just does not go with the lyrics of the Bard.

Thank you, Hank, that was terrific. Fascinating to see, listen and compare. I think, somewhat to my surprise, that Branagh just pips Olivier but to be fair he is aided by full symphonic music in the background to raise the emotional temper - unavailable to Olivier in parsimonious wartime. Notice also, how they both 'build' their audience from the surrounding soldiery as they go on. However, Olivier's delivery of Shakespearean verse is without equal. Gwillim, I think was truer to Henry's character (as writ by WS) in that he shows a quieter, inner man, fully aware of the effect his agit-prop is having on his compatriots. You have to remember that Henry V is the double-dealing prince Harry of Henry IV Parts I & II, the man who ditches his 'friend' Falstaff the minute he ascends the throne. I saw Pennington's version during a truly memorable all-day show at the National Theatre which covered H IV part I in the morning, Part II in the afternoon and Henry V in the evening. Being a stage version this does not compare so well with the filmed ones. Even so, it was one of the greatest days I ever had in the theatre. The director, Bogdanov, took the approach that he would simply dress people in costumes of any era that expressed their character. Thus, Falstaff appeared in a bright blue pin-striped suit with co-respondent shoes and a spiv's tie! It was staged only a few years after the Falklands expedition, so the scene when Henry sets sail from England had all the soldiery in camouflaged smocks and red berets with much cheering which brought to mind the sights we had seen only a few years before. At the climax a huge banner was dropped from the top of back-stage with the immortal words plastered across it "FUCK THE FRENCH". Needless to say it brought the house down!

"The director, Bogdanovich ..." I always make that mistake too. Bogdanovich was a Hollywood one-hit wonder. You mean Bogdanov, of whom I know nothing except what I read.

And I, Dom, know nothing either going by my silly mistake above which I will now correct.

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