Shakespeare Saturday: What to Watch

Hi there, readers (and fellow Shakespeare enthusiasts)! Welcome to Nerd Cactus Presents: Shakespeare-a-palooza 2016 day 3! C paired Richard II and Henry IV pt 1 yesterday so now it’s up to me to set you up with some of the best filmed adaptations of both. Admittedly, there are waaaay fewer adaptations of Shakespeare’s histories than his comedies and tragedies, but LUCKILY there’s the BBC. Good ‘ol British Broadcasting. They have filmed all of Shakespeare’s works (yes, all of them) and for that we are most grateful. I’m especially grateful, because without BBC’s commitment to preserving Shakespeare in its performed state I wouldn’t have much to share with you today. That being said, let’s get started!

We’ll begin with Richard II. Richard II… Where to begin? There have been zero big-budget, wide-release adaptations of Richard II. Believe me, I checked. Several times. There are several TV movies, but that’s it. We’ll just go ahead and ignore the 1978 TV production because it stars Derek Jacobi… and he’s a butthead who thinks Shakespeare didn’t write his own plays but continues to make a career off Shakespeare’s works. Dick.

Ok, sorry, here we go. Richard II. There’s a 2003 production starring Mark Rylance, but good luck finding it; it doesn’t even have a “poster” on IMDB. The highest recommendation I can give (so I will) is for the BBC’s “Hollow Crown” Richard II from 2012. Starring Ben Whishaw, Patrick Stewart, and Rory Kinnear, it’s beautifully executed and easily accessible. If you must watch Richard II (if only to get into the Henry IV story) watch that one.

As for ‘ol Henry IV. There have been just as many, if not fewer, adaptations of Henry IV, so let me once again reiterate my love of the BBC. The “Hollow Crown” Henry IV is excellent. And why shouldn’t it be? It stars Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston, and Julie Walters. It’s really very well done on a production scale and the acting is phenomenonal. Definitely give it a watch! It’s fairly easy to track down and Tom Hiddleston is worth your time.

That’s all for today, folks! Tune in tomorrow and the rest of the month for continued Shakespeare-a-palooza posts.

-A

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