Saturday, October 12, 2013

If you haven't watched The Hollow Crown series

Then by goodness, you need to change that.  A BBC production - never anything less than stellar - takes the plays Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and Henry V (known to scholars as The Henriad), and gives them more than a respectable telling.  It's not too awash in modern PC sensitivities, and the productions try to remain faithful to the telling.  Better for non-Shakespeare types, the text is delivered in a more conversational tone that is often associated with Shakespearian theater.  The guys are squatting in the mud, dirt on their faces, speaking in Shakespeare's English the way Americans Tweet and Text. 

The caliber of acting doesn't hurt either.  With the likes of Patrick Stewart, John Hurt, the always reliable Jeremy Irons, and David Morrisey among others (you've seen him as the Governor on The Walking Dead), you can't go wrong.  And it doesn't.  Again, the pacing, sets, costumes are all a mix of what recent Hollywood productions have made us expect, without going overboard into the Xena, Warrior Princess schlock.  And when there is  key line, or phrase, or speech, even though the intention is to keep the dialogue low-key, the series does a good job of adding just a touch of dramatic flair, as if to say 'we know you've been waiting for it.'  For instance:

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Ah Richard Winters, we miss you.

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