Henry V (1944) (Criterion Collection)

Starring: Robert Newton Director: Laurence Olivier
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Rating 4.2
32 ratings
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Item:  CRRN 12852D

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DVD Features:

  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 2 hours, 18 minutes
  • Video: Color
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1944
  • Label: Criterion
Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada) Encoding
Packaging: Keep Case
Audio Commentary by Film Historian Bruce Eder
Theatrical Trailer
SHAKESPEAREAN ROYALTY: Interactive Chronology of England's Rulers
Stills Gallery

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring
Performer: , , , , , , , , , , , &
Featured:
Directed by
Edited by
Screenwriting by &
Composition by
Art Direction by
Story by
Produced by
Director of Photography:

Memorable Quotes and Dialog:

"O for a Muse of Fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention!"
  - Chorus (Leslie Banks)
"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the walls up with our English dead!
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood."
  - King Henry V before the attack on the city of Harfleur
"This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
And roused him at the name of Crispian."
  - King Henry V before the Battle of Agincourt

Major Awards:

Academy Awards 1946 - Special Achievement Awards: Laurence Olivier

Entertainment Reviews:

Entertainment Weekly - 01/11/2002
"...If you're looking for Olivier the young classicist at work, here's the best display of his talents..."
Empire - 09/01/2007
4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t is Olivier's towering performance as the inspirational king that still stirs the blood."

Product Description:

Laurence Olivier brings to vivid life Shakespeare's King Henry V, the epitome of the ideal Christian king. After a youth misspent in frivolity and common diversions, Prince Hal ascends the throne only to find himself on the brink of war with France over land and title disputes. Betrayed by his own archbishop in ascertaining the validity of the claims, Henry has to prove himself not only to his enemies but to his own advisers and his people. He thwarts a plot to assassinate him, meting out a swift but fair justice. When the French, unable to take him seriously, refuse to send reinforcements to a town under attack by Henry's troops, England wins the battle easily, yet Henry is merciful to the vanquished town. Though they are badly outnumbered, Henry leads his troops with courage and fortitude into the final, decisive battle against his enemies. Though foreign films were not competing at the time, Olivier won a special Academy Award for directing, producing, and starring in the film. His classic production of Shakespeare's 1599 play is filled with pomp and pageantry, terrific acting, and robust battle scenes.

Plot Keywords:

Big Battles | Classic | Medieval | Period Piece | Recommended | Royalty | Stage Play

Production Notes:

  • The film was previewed in the U.S. on April 17, 1946. The original theatrical release print of was 127 minutes. The current cut stands at 136 minutes.
  • The film was shot on location in Ireland, with local farmers and townsfolk working as extras.
  • HENRY V marked the directorial debut for British actor Laurence Olivier.
  • The film's opening sequence features a reconstruction of 16th-century London and Shakespeare's own Globe Theatre. In actuality the set was modeled after the Swan, a theater walking distance from the Globe, because the design of the Swan had been better documented than that of the Globe.
  • Olivier's first choice of director was William Wyler, who passed on the film.
  • Olivier's then-wife Vivien Leigh wanted to play Katherine, but her studio wouldn't release her to play such a small role.
  • At a final cost of more than $2 million, HENRY V was at the time the most expensive British film ever made.
  • The surreal and fairy-tale-like world of Henry's 15th century is depicted as segments of medieval manuscript illustrations. Some scenes are directly modeled from the illuminations of a prayer book entitled THE BOOK OF HOURS.
  • The film was produced when British patriotism was high, serving as an important WWII propaganda tool. Hence some of Henry's cruelty toward his old drinking companions had been cut from the finished script.
  • In keeping with the spirit of the play, the wartime propaganda of "Englishmen as underdogs," and indeed history itself, the French army is depicted as extremely well armed and encased in heavy, cumbersome armor--restricting their movement. In fact, during the early part of the 15th century the French pioneered the wearing of steel cuirasses (breast plates) that greatly limited mobility but increased the ability to fight on horseback--making the French cavalry a deadly military machine. The English forces had been lightly armored and had the tendency to arrive at the battle on horseback and dismount in order to fight.
  • Because the actual site at Agincourt had been muddy, the French and their heavily armored horses charged into the lines of English arrow fire and ended up slipping and sliding all over the battlefield in their attempt to retreat.

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Customer Rating: Rating 4.2
Based on 32 ratings.
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Product Info:

  • Sales Rank: 109,511
  • UPC: 037429128527
  • Shipping Weight: 0.17/lbs (approx)
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