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Hamlet Review

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Baron Olivier

 ( May 1907 -- Jul 1989 )    
Laurence Kerr Olivier was born into a strict religious household. His father and paternal grandfather were both High Anglican clergymen. He turned to his mother for the only tenderness and warmth he would receive as a child and was devastated by her death when he was 12. At 17 he entered the Central School of Speech and Drama and in 1926 joined the Birmingham Repertory Company. His acting career spanned more than six decades and included 120 stage roles and 60 films. He also appeared in numerous made-for-television movies. Early in his career he became determined to master Shakespeare and came to be regarded as the foremost Shakespearean actor of the 20th Century. In his first major Hollywood film he played the iconic role of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, co-starring Merle Oberon. Other notable films included The Entertainer, Rebecca, Spartacus, Sleuth, Marathon Man  and his own productions of Henry V, Hamlet and Richard III. He was the youngest actor ever to be knighted and the first actor to be elevated to the peerage. In 1969 the American Film Institute named him to their list of the Greatest Male Actors of All Time.

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Title:   HAMLET

"There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

    There have been several film adaptations of Shakespeare's epic tale of the melancholy Dane, but none quite equals this version. With Laurence Olivier in the title role, a very young Jean Simmons stars as the tragic Ophelia and the entire cast comprises top stage veterans. Hamlet won the Oscars for Best Actor and Best Picture, the first British film ever to win a Best Picture Oscar. Jean Simmons was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar and went on to become a major film star. This was Olivier's second film as director. He was also the producer and screenwriter. His Hamlet displeased some scholars and lovers of Shakespeare because he trimmed almost two hours and two significant characters from the original play as written by Shakespeare. He did this in order to adapt the story to the reality of the time that a four-hour movie would be a tough sell.  

1948, Directed by Laurence Olivier

Watch a Clip from the 1948 Classic HAMLET

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