Best Picture Review: “Hamlet” (1948)

Hamlet (1948)
Hamlet (1948)

Saturday night, after visiting Ikea, Target, and the Richfield liquor store, Lauren and I sat down for a night of movies.  Our hopes were to watch 1948 and 1949’s Best Picture winners in one sitting.  I had napped earlier in the day, so I thought I was up to the challenge.  The first movie of the night was 1948’s Hamlet.

Hamlet is the story of a bowl-cutted prince who is out to prove the death of his father, the king, was a murder most foul.  Yes, something was awry in Denmark.  But I think most know how this story plays itself out.  Even I, who cringes every time a Shakespeare category finds its way into Jeopardy because I have little interest in literature, remembered the story (after reading the synopsis on Wikipedia, that is!).  After all, I remember Mrs. Thoreson spending a whole semester on Hamlet in high school English.  We even watched the modern-day Hamlet movie starring Ethan Hawke and Julia Stiles in class.

This is a tough one to write a review about.  It didn’t seem like anything extraordinary; it was just the movie version of the famous story/play… with some critical omissions.  No Guildenstern and Rosencratz?!  What is this, amateur hour?

Laurence Olivier directed and starred as Hamlet, and cast a woman thirteen years younger than himself to play his mother.  Otherwise, nothing interesting cast-wise.  I did learn that Olivier and Gone with the Wind star Vivien Leigh wound up getting married.

I guess there were moments where I was intrigued.  The initial scene of the ghost of King Hamlet had me on the edge of my seat.  Other major character deaths made me pay a little more attention.  But it was just a ho-hum movie.  Not real sure how this was 1948’s best.  It finishes somewhere towards the bottom of the line with Gentleman’s Agreement and Cimarron.

Next up, 1949’s All the King’s Men, which I did indeed stay up for!  I will write the review a little later.  It’s bed time.

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