In this highly unusual film version of Shakespeare's play, Sir John Gielgud's 1964 stage production starring Richard Burton is filmed during a live performance on Broadway. Shot over two days at three successive performances with a live audience, the film was made using a variety of cameras capturing the action from different angles, which were later edited together into the finished film. Gielgud's production tells the story of the melancholy Danish prince using extremely simple scenery and with the actors dressed to look like they are wearing modern rehearsal clothing rather than finished costumes in order to give the production the feel of a final run-through rather than a lavishly appointed costume drama. The film is a fascinating record of the production and offers a rare chance to see one of Richard Burton's Shakespeare performances on film.
Description by Image Entertainment:
Richard Burton stars and Sir John Gielgud directs William Shakespeare's play of the Danish Prince. This is a "Hamlet" acted in rehearsal clothes, stripped of all extraneous trappings, so the beauty of the language and imagery could shine through. Filmed during an actual Broadway performance, to be shown in movie theaters for two days only, the prints were contractually ordered destroyed, but Burton sent one to the British Film Institute, and kept one print at home, located by his widow Sally in 1988; here then is the complete Burton "Hamlet" in all its vocal power and glory.
Live Performances |
The film was released for only two days in 1964, after which all prints were to be destroyed. Burton apparently saved a single print, which was discovered among his belongings close to 30 years later
The VHS and DVD versions of this film contain trailers and additional interview footage.