After watching Coriolanus, I was inspired to make a list of all the films inspired by the works of one…
The Hollow Crown: Henry IV - Part 1
Henry IV finds himself facing uprisings from the Welsh chieftain Owen Glendower and impetuous young Harry Hotspur, son of the Duke of Northumberland, angry with the king for not paying Glendower ransom for his brother-in-law Mortimer. Another trial for Henry is the fact that his son, Prince Hal, keeps company with the older, reprobate drunkard Sir John Falstaff. Though the prince is his friend he is not above playing cruel jests on Falstaff, robbing him in disguise and returning his money after Falstaff has given an exaggerated account of his bravery in the hold-up. Hotspur is routed but Henry and Hal still have to face the uprisings of Glendower and Nortumberland, now joined by the archbishop of York.
As was the case with Richard II, this segment of the four Shakespearian plays that comprise The Hollow Crown does an excellent job of fleshing out and focusing the bard’s words.
Having recently seen the 3 Henry plays performed on the boards I was keenly interested in how famed director Sir Richard Eyre would use the cinematic medium to flesh out the piece, especially the battle sequences. Under his guidance, the play breathes, it is an alive and living thing, not just something to examine under a microscope or ignore due to the quaint language. Eyre manages to clearly delineate all of the plot lines; paying special attention to Henry IV (the former usurper Bolingbroke). Assuming that you have already…
Bafflingly, this production manages to hinder the immense talent of the actors involved. One of Hal's soliloquys? Add some generic Game of Thrones-y soundtrack, turn it into a voiceover and add so much action in the shot you can't even focus on what's being said. The most famous confrontation between Falstaff and Hal? Add in sweeping music as tension is building, turn up the volume just before the confrontation culminates so that when Simon Russel Beale is acting the fuck out of it (that is the correct scholarly term) you can't even bloody discern the intonation behind his words because the music is so overbearing. The same is true for the scene between Hal and his father - it's as…
After reading the play, attending the play, and studying the play this adaptation was slightly a breath of fresh air. With a great cast and solid concept it was handled well and delivered as a great Shakespeare adaptation. That being said I overall found it long and the fact that I knew every line didn't help. With the first part of the miniseries I loved the aspects of the royal lifestyle and the courts. This one mostly focused on the peasants which I did not like as much. That says more about the source material then anything else. As for this take on it.
In terms of technical merit I loved the use of voice over and clever tactics that…
I absolutely love Shakespeare's writing and I also get excited with high expectations when his works are adapted to film. While I originally was not familiar with the story of Henry IV, the cast alone got me excited to delve into it and from that standpoint alone I was not disappointed at all. For those unfamiliar with the story, it follows Prince Hal in a sort of coming of age story as he goes from being a drunkard and a liar and a thief into someone more noble, honorable, and fit as heir to the throne as he joins his father, King Henry IV, into battle.
Story wise, it's Shakespeare so you know it's brilliant. Granted, after the scene where…
Favorite Scene: It's a toss between the scene where Hal is summoned before Henry IV, and the scene where Hall thinks his father is dead, and weights on the duties of the crown.
Favorite line: "I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyok'd humour of your idleness.
Yet herein will I imitate the Sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wonder'd at,
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;
Ten years later...
Prince Hal(Tom Hiddleston) spends most of his time drinking and whoring with various members of the lower classes. He even assists his friend Falstaff(Simon Russell Beale) in a bit of brigrandry. By comparison, King Henry IV(Jeremy Irons) is in the process of celebrating another victory. Now all they have to do is sort out all of the hostages...
With its lavish attention to the detail of court intrigue and 15th century drinking customs, after watching this adaptation of “Henry IV - Part 1,” I think I understand why any straight-up adaptations are few and far in between, being outnumbered by more roundabout approaches to the material.(For example, My Own Private Idaho, Chimes of Midnight and oh what…
(Notes under Richard II)
As with the previous panel of the Henriad, this is the first screen adaptation of Henry IV, Part I that I have seen. It's a wonderful realization of the play. Jeremy Irons is very good as Henry IV: crabbed and stormy but still regal. Tom Hiddleston is also excellent as Prince Hal; I have not seen him in a better role. Joe Armstrong's Hotspur I found a little too obviously overheated, but I suppose that is the nature of the character.
Most interesting to me was Falstaff. He is one of Shakespeare's great creations, but somehow Falstaff on the page has always been for me something less than the Falstaff of my imagination: the Falstaff of wit and outsized merriment.…
I may be the only person in the history of letters who's not really a fan of Falstaff (here Simon Russell Beale). Perhaps this ties into what Eddie Izzard observes about Shaggy and Scooby; they are cowards who are into cowardice and sandwiches. However, Shaggy and Scooby don't have any apparent interest in those other two notable drives for Falstaff--booze and whores. This does not make him more lovable to me. If anything, less so. I'm aware that looking for a character who shows respect for women in Elizabethan drama (histordramedy?) is foolish, because the only woman you showed respect for in 1597 was Elizabeth herself. That doesn't mean I can't wish for a little less disrespect. I…
I like Tom Hiddleston's leather jacket.
Henry IV (parts one and two) form the middle of Shakespeare's history trilogy which starts with Richard II and ends with Henry V. The BBC adapted all three of these stories (four plays) into four movies featuring some crossover in the actors between the stories. This means that, for example, we'll see Tom Hiddleston grow from the young, "riotous" prince Hal to the stately Henry V by the end of the whole thing over the course of around 7 hours. That's a lot of time to spend with these characters and it's a lot of time listening to Shakespearean dialogue. But, you've got Hiddleston's endless charm and acting skills leading you along, so it's not so bad.
In fact, even…
This may well feel like less of a fault on the page or when performed theatrically—I wouldn't know as I've never seen any of the Henriad on stage—but this version just feels wildly uneven. I gather that Falstaff and Hal are the de facto leads of the play, not Henry IV, as the balance of time is spent in their company on idle matters rather than following whatever else may be happening with the rebellion. I suppose I'm just surprised that the filmed version doesn't heavily abridge or intercut these scenes with the other goings-on, because it leads the film to feel unbalanced. It's hard to fault Richard Eyre & co. since this is the nature of the source material, but…
This is part one of my collection, as Letterboxd does not allow lists of more than 3,330 films.