Movie Madness: “Shot Composition and Framing in Hamlet: Part II”

Essays on Film, Movie Madness, writing

The Mousetrap: Play Within A Play

When we last left Elsinore, Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh) had caught onto his uncle Claudius’ (Derek Jacobi) plot to usurp the throne from his murdered brother, and conspired with a visiting troupe of actors to form a play within a play to reveal Claudius’ guilt.

In performances of Hamlet past and present, the play is usually presented as a psychological gambit, a way for the prince of Denmark to suss out his uncle’s intent in open court. Also known as a mise en abyme, the ‘play within a play’ plot is a good narrative technique to peer into character’s psychological states due to its often referential nature to the larger story’s plot.

Movie Madness: Color and Composition of “Hamlet”, Part I

Essays on Film, Movie Madness, writing

Hamlet can be played as a melodrama, or as a tragedy; the two are not entirely immiscible, but the grandiosity and the melancholy of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays leaves it often to interpretation. There have been numerous film adaptations and adaptors: Laurence Olivier (1946), Grigori Kozintsev (1964), Tony Richardson (1969), Ethan Hawke (2000). The tale of the downfall of the prince of Denmark and his family contains the same classic messages and timeless themes that initially made it famous, and today we take a look at Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet (1996).