|Laurence Olivier as Richard III in Laurence Olivier's film RIchard III.|
Richard III (1955)
d. Laurence Olivier
Criterion Collection #213
First substantive mention of a work of Shakespeare comes eight years into the history of this blog. Strange- I would think that at least one of Shakespeare's plays would be one of the "1001 Books to Read Before You Die" but I don't pick the titles for them. Shakespeare doesn't dominate the Criterion Collection either, there is Richard III and Henry V, both directed by Olivier. Olivier also stars in Richard III as Richard III and so what you get is a A LOT of Richard III.
It's a fairly timeless classic, and Olivier doesn't try to spin the material any which way. I remember I saw a theater version of this play in San Francisco and Ian McKellen played him as a fascist dictator. This is a traditional, historically accurate version in the style of a 50s Hollywood costume drama, with an incredible performance at the center of the film. Two and a half hours of Shakespeare is actually a watchable title in the context of three hour Japanese films and two hour French and Italian films.