- Love's Labour's Lost (2000)
- A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)
- Shakespeare in Love (1998)
- Twelfth Night (1998)
- Romeo + Juliet (1996)
- Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
- Hamlet (1992)
- Henry V (1989)
- Antony and Cleopatra (1972)
- Julius Caesar (1970)
- Romeo and Juliet (1968)
- The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
- Hamlet (1964) [TV Movie]
- Richard III (1955)
- Julius Caesar (1953)
- Henry V (1944)
Review: Shakespeare at the Movies
2.5 / 5 Stars
Every once in a while, record companies will bite the bullet and release CDs that they know are geared toward a very specific niche audience that is so dedicated that they will all rush out and buy the CD - and everyone else's eyes will instinctively move right past it when scanning the shelves. Such is the case with Silva Classic's Shakespeare at the Movies. If I was a Shakespearean movie fanatic, I would be bouncing off the walls as I write this; but, alas, I am not, so I greet this CD with only moderate enthusiasm.
In theory, this compilation of scores and quotes from various Shakespeare adaptations from the past sixty years of cinema could be a compelling academic study of the diversity of musical compositions in these films. However, the compilers played it safe, and aimed at only the most hardcore audience by sticking with the most straightforward orchestrations.
From William Walton's 1944 rendition of Henry V to Patrick Doyle's 2000 rendition of Love's Labour Lost, we get a sense of sameness of these compositions, not diversity. No one can or should argue the talent of the composer's involved. Patrick Dole and Craig Armstrong do their material justice, certainly, but as a collective, no one's work really stands out. What's worse is that the pieces here lack intensity enough to even evoke memories of the films' best scenes. Basically, to all but the most extreme audience, this 2-CD set would be very unsatisfying.
Similarly, the Shakespeare quotations peppered throughout the soundtrack were very well-read and performed, by the likes of Derek Jacobi and Ben Kingsley, but held little emotional weight for anyone other than hardcore fans. For the non-fan, I would at least expect an attempt to give excerpts that are more engaging and draw you in. A CD like this is a big chance to draw in non-Shakespeare believers, and it is unfortunately clear the compilers decided to not take on that task.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend this to someone who has a specific fondness for films based on Shakespearean plays. Having said that, if you are not in that group, this collection just isn't for you.
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