Hot Shakespeare Film, Radio, & Other Stuff

Check out the following reviews, previews, short films, radio programs, or OTHER STUFF. (By the way, these go back nine years, if you scroll all the way down. I add things sporadically.)

Ian McKellen spotted mumbling Hamlet lines on sidewalk

And more: a linguist's idea of how Macbeth's act 5, scene 5, might have sounded in early seventeenth-century English pronunciation.

Interview with me on Cassidy Cash's "That Shakespeare Life." The topic is Shakespeare and guns (on stage, no less!)

David Tennant speaks very quickly for one minute about "Exit, pursued by a bear."

Judi Dench as Adriana in The Comedy of Errors.

Trevor Nunn discussing Sonnet 138 with David Suchet.

The actual Richard III's funeral cortege:

Here's Andrew Scott's nemesis, Benedict Cumberbatch, reading Carol Ann Duffy's poem on Richard III at Richard's second interment, Leicester Cathedral, March, 2015.

Mark Rylance dancing.

Great clip of Orson Welles as Falstaff on the Dean Martin Show.

3D audio Macbeth performed at Glamis Castle.

Puck in Julie Taymor's A Midsummer Night's Dream (2014). So elastic.

Animated Tempest. 

Al Pacino as Lear in a movie? Should be interesting.


An interview with me by Cassidy Cash about Shakespeare's daughter Judith Quiney.

Tom Hanks as Falstaff?

Andrew Scott (Moriarty!) as Hamlet in London. Here he's doing part of "To be or not to be."

A line of Hamlets!

Here's Andrew Scott's nemesis, Benedict Cumberbatch, reading Carol Ann Duffy's poem on Richard III at Richard's second interment, Leicester Cathedral, March, 2015.

An excellent video discussion of Coriolanus and the Ralph Fiennes film in the context of the war film genre and of the eternal issue of the soldier's homecoming.

Preview for Julie Taymor's A Midsummer Night's Dream

For English 2520: Romeo meets Juliet at an Australian acting school for teens.

This is a youngish Ian McKellen with a sexy rendition of Sonnet 20 that I will soon be showing my students to enhance their interpretive context.

Here's a video interview with me talking about the Gunpowder Plot and Gunpowder Percy. I goof and say "Protestant" when I mean "Catholic" once while describing the zealous Plotters' aims, JUST SO YOU KNOW I KNOW.

Review of the performance of a new female Hamlet: distinguished British actress Maxine Peak.

And more Hamlet. From The Guardian, another review: NY, summer 2017, Oscar Isaac playing Hamlet alongside Keegan- Michael Key's Horatio. Directed by Sam Gold.

Riz Ahmed does "Stand up for bastards!" from King Lear. Watch it.

 A NYRB review of a 2017 production of Othello starring Daniel Craig as Iago.

A 27-minute interview with me on Texas Radio. Subjects? The Gunpowder Plot, writing fiction, Borges, Stephen Greenblatt, New Orleans, and, of course, Shakespeare.

Good article from the Chronicle of Higher Education on how to think like a 16th-century intellectual.

Alexa Huang on Doing Shakespeare While Black.

OK, this is not Shakespeare, but it's a scene from a work by his greatest contemporary in tragedy, John Webster, put on by a Chicago company, and it's well worth looking at. There is no tragedy like Renaissance tragedy.

Six short Shakespeare speeches by great Shakespearean actors. My favorite is Eileen Atkins as Emilia. 

A short, true discussion of playing Lear by James Earl Jones.

Richard III's funeral procession in Leicester, March, 2015.

Benedict Cumberbatch reads Carol Ann Duffy's poem on Richard III at Richard's second interment, Leicester Cathedral, March, 2015.

See how Shakespeare's actors learned their lines.

A Renaissance English history podcast to listen to! Many interesting episodes. 

A trailer for Kenneth Branagh's streamed plays from the Garrick Theatre. These include The Winter's Tale, featuring Judi Dench as Paulina and Branagh himself as Leontes.

See a great new blog, "In the Glassy Margents," which provides reviews and discussions of Shakespeare and other Renaissance drama productions.

Cumberbitches: mixed reviews on Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet, at the Barbican, which may have  something to do with the director's novel alterations of the play. Lots of reviews out there. Here's one.

It's looking more and more like this will happen: a Martin Scorsese Macbeth film (starring Kenneth Branagh). This is because Roman Polanski's wasn't bloody enough.

More Kenneth Branagh, this time on stage. He's putting on Shakespeare at the Garrick. I love that his commitment to W.S. never flags.

And more Macbeth. This is an absolutely gushing review from the London Telegraph of the new film Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender. It features a video clip, not of any lines from the film, but of a battle scene that could have come from anything, including Clash of the Titans. I hope the movie's as good as is claimed.

Lots of news about Richard III's reburial on Sunday, March 22, 2015. I loved one film on which you could hear someone yell "God save King Richard!" as the plain coffin was loaded into a hearse. Just what Richard couldn't get them to say back on Shakespeare's stage. Here's one account of the reburial.

The late great Leonard Nimoy recites lines from Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech in Yiddish.

The title of this article is a little misleading -- the article proposes a new theory about the dedicatee of the first published edition of the sonnets, not about the person to whom the sonnets were written -- but that's journalism. It's an interesting article.

The second part in the BBC series "Shakespeare Uncovered" played on Friday nights in fall 2014, and is probably still watchable via archives. An outstanding series, its first two shows focus on A Midsummer Night's Dream and King Lear, and are narrated by Hugh Bonneville and Christopher Plummer (who is still nearly as sexy as he was when he was Captain Von Trapp). Click here:

Antony Sher as Falstaff in London!

A real find instead of a fake find, for a change. Copy of rare First Folio found in a dusty corner of a French library. Comments about the French in Henry V and Henry VI plays all edited beyond recognition, and additional dialogue ("Thou despicable English pig-dog") added in a seventeenth-century hand. (Just kidding -- about that part.)

A virtual journey through seventeenth-century London. Fire waiting to happen.

Trailer for Almereyda's just-released film of Cymbeline, a play he calls an "undiscovered masterpiece" (what?). The film promises to be even crappier than his Hamlet 2000. This time, though, it will be the fault not just of Ethan Hawke but of all the actors.

Recent New Yorker article on the latest alleged Shakespeare relic (a dictionary):

John Lithgow on Charlie Rose, talking about playing King Lear.

Had to post this one: a review of My Father Had a Daughter: Judith Shakespeare's Tale on Texas Public Radio (9/25/14).

This is not a review of Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III. Second link has pics.
Don't miss the Beatles performing the last scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1965.

A short video detailing Sam Mendes' King Lear, a startling new interpretation of the play.

Shakespeare barged into the Third International Gower conference in Rochester, NY. You can read about it, and see why that was a pun, on the awesome Gower blog at

Back to the carpark for Richard III? They won't let the Friends of the Plantagenets (or whatever they're called) bury him in York.  Read BBC News report here.

And for those obsessed with Richard III's bone structure:

Are you sick of Richard III? Here's some more Richard III. Benedict Cumberbatch plays him in the concluding component of the BBC The Hollow Crown, and Judi Dench plays the dowager Queen Margaret, who squares off against him in an early scene. Here's a report from The London Telegraph.

Colm Feore was King Lear! YES! At the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, which had two actual Shakespeare offerings and four musicals in its 2014 season. Read and weep.

Kenneth Branagh played a dirty Macbeth in the Armory in NYC, within recent memory. Read the New York Times review.

If you like "Cakewrecks," check out these Shakespeare Birthday Cakewrecks.

Extremely short interview with me on NPR's "Arts and More," concerning Hamlet's Gertrude (who I know is not a minor character), Emilia Bassano, Shakespeare's sonnets, and my new krazy novel Paint.

Shakespearean tips for writers.

An opera combining Shakespeare's Henry V with the story of Steve Jobs and his Apple endeavors is opening in France. Hmm.

Hey, Tom Hiddleston fans: there's news about Hiddleston's performance as Coriolanus, which was streamed live last January 30th from the National Theatre. Check here for a review from The London Telegraph.

Dracula as Lear? Read the New York Times review of Frank Langella as the mad king.

A cute-looking Shakespeare festival in the state of Washington.

Two minutes of Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry as Olivia and Malvolio in the all-male Twelfth Night, performed in January, 2014, on Broadway. I saw it. Fantastic. But Stephen Fry wouldn't stop and chat with me when he was crossing Times Square before the performance. He walked into traffic to get away from me. Did I look that insane? Or is he just MALVOLIO?

Jude Law was apparently a purty good Henry V in a relatively recent West End production. Article in London Telegraph here.

Key and Peele's Othello sketch is a must-see if you need a dose of laughter.

From New Yorker, a succinct account of Orson Welles's Shakespearean genius, which gives you a sense of what we lost when he died before he could complete his film version of King Lear. (Farther down this page is a video of Welles performing two of Shylock's speeches from The Merchant of Venice; well worth watching.)

A New York Times Review of Julie Taymor's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in Brooklyn.

David Tennant played Richard II (that's the sad bipolar one, not the cackly wicked one) for the Royal Shakespeare Company and it was broadcast live to theaters in selected U.S. cities last November. There's no link. I'm just saying that.

From The Guardian: new revelations from actual Shakespeare scholars that Shakespeare more than likely helped write three plays not usually attributed to him. (More on this from The New York Times, farther down.)

Very cool. A montage of scenes from a German production of Richard III featuring a Tom Waits song.

Read the New York Times review of the latest dismal Romeo and Juliet film, starring  Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth. Director Julian Fellowes changed the language to make the play "accessible" (screenplay adapted from No Fear Shakespeare?) No reason to go.

After that, and for anyone else who needs cheering up, here's William Shatner doing a rap Mark Antony and a Hamlet soliloquy.

Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones performed Much Ado about Nothing at the Old Vic Theatre in London in 2013. They played Beatrice and Benedick, of course. Click here to read about it:

Read the New York Times story on David Bruster's recent discovery of Shakespeare's hand in a version of Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, the seminal Elizabethan revenge play.

Thug Notes on Hamlet. Pretty much all you need to know about the H.

In case we are forgetting how magnificent a Shakespearean actor Orson Welles was, here he is in 1968 reciting two of Shylock's speeches from The Merchant of Venice  on The Dean Martin Show. I don't know which is the best, Martin's drunk act, Welles's performance, or the fact that Welles was asked to do this on The Dean Martin Show. Jay? Conan? David L.? How about inviting David Suchet or Patrick Stewart on for some Shakespeare? Heeeeere's Orson:

The blog of Sharon Kay Penman, for all those interested in very well researched historical fiction set in medieval England.

From Variety, a short description of a biker version of Cymbeline directed by Michael Almereyda and starring Ethan Hawke. Filming started in New York last summer. The only thing that really bothers me about this is that it's directed by Michael Almereyda and stars Ethan Hawke. That's because I saw Hamlet 2000. The link:

Here's a review from The Telegraph of Kenneth Branagh as Macbeth, a role he played in Manchester, U.K., in 2013. Also in New York. Not enough Branagh? Here's another article from The Telegraph.

Don't miss this late-Victorian one-minute film of the great British actor-director Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Shakespeare's King John. You will find it . . . remarkable.

May 31st, 2013, marked the opening of the Mary Rose Museum in England. The Mary Rose is an English battleship that was sunk during a battle with the French off the English coast in 1545, towards the end of the reign of Henry VIII. Four hundred men perished. The remains of the ship were recently raised, and many artifacts of weaponry and various ware were found preserved. Check the Mary Rose site:

NY Times review of Paul Giamatti performing as Hamlet at the Yale Repertory Theater in spring, 2013.

Michael Fassbender to star as Macbeth in a new film. Though this article says Natalie Portman will play Lady M., recent reports say she's been replaced by Marion Cotillard.

"The insane root that takes the reason prisoner": From Slate Magazine, Ron Rosenbaum's sobering article about Alan Cumming's one-man Macbeth, the problem of evil, and the Boston Marathon bombing.


Alexander Huang's "Global Shakespeare" website offers films of non-English-speaking cultures' interpretations of Shakespeare.

And here's a Shakespeare blog that gets its facts right:

Here are the final moments of a production of Richard II at London's Globe playhouse and the dance that concludes the performance. The film gives you an excellent look at the Globe's interior and the proximity of the audience to the players, and also showcases the revived Shakespearean custom of having the players dance after every performance. The dance is particularly extraordinary in this case in that it follows a tragedy, wherein Henry Bolingbroke, the usurper, spends his last moments in the play proper standing before the throne he's seized, smitten with guilt over having hired out the murder of Richard II. Then, suddenly, out comes murdered Richard (played by Mark Rylance) and the rest of the cast (including the red-robed Bishop of Carlisle!), dancing a spirited galliard together after having spent three hours at each other's throats. The high point of the dance comes when Richard and Bolingbroke dance together. Richard dancing in front of the black-clad Bolingbroke also recapitulates, here in a festive context, his tragic histrionic performance of his woes before the usurper in the deposition scene. Fantastic!

Click to subscribe to The Shakespeare Newsletter, a gallimaufry of high-quality scholarly conversation on Shakespeare, contemporary theater reviews, plus other Shakespeare pop-culture fun.

An interview with Grace Tiffany (me) about her novel, Will, on "To the Best of Our Knowledge," Wisconsin Public Radio:

Why not view the nine-minute Lego adaptation of Romeo and Juliet? You have something better to do?

NPR "On Point" discussion of Shakespeare's Richard III versus the actual king:

Ian McKellen talks about various famous or infamous performances of Richard (the third one) on stage and film, with video:

Check out Shakespeare Behind Bars at


No comments:

Post a Comment