Hi there loyal Nerd Cactus followers! Welcome back. If you don’t know already, this week’s Shakespeare-a-palooza offering features Henry IV pt 2 and Henry V. If you didn’t know, now you do. Take a look-see at C’s Boozy Plays recommendation from yesterday here: Boozy Plays: Henry IV pt 2 and Henry V.
Of course, if you aren’t in the mood to read one (or more) of Shakespeare’s histories, feel free to enjoy that sidecar while watching a fully realized, decently budgeted and filmed, production of either or any Henry that you please. Today is our film recommendations day so take a look at these most excellent adaptations of Shakespeare’s work.
Let’s begin with Henry IV pt. 2. Because going chronologically seems like a good idea. My first recommendation is going to be BBC’s continuation of the Hollow Crown series because A) it’s extremely well done, and B) Tom Hiddleston. But really, fan-girling aside, it’s a glorious production and it doesn’t hurt that Hal is easy on the eyes. The BBC also produced a version in 1979, which, you know is good, because BBC.
There’s also a video available from the Shakespeare’s Globe production in 2010 which gained critical acclaim and, after it’s successful simulcast, was made available on DVD. It’s important to note that their production of Henry IV part 1 is also available. I didn’t add that to the recommendations I made two weeks ago so consider it added. So… sorry about that and please add it to your watch list. Another noteworthy adaptation of Henry IV is Orson Welles’s 1965 film “Chimes at Midnight” which condenses both Henry IV 1 & 2 along with Richard II… Welles plays Falstaff. That’s why it’s noteworthy.
Let’s move on to your options for Henry V. There are plenty of good ones! Both Branagh and Olivier have tackled the role on the silver screen so *absolutely* watch one, or both, of those. Emma Thompson and Christian Bale are also in Branagh’s version so that’s a plus. Of course, Derek Jacobi also makes as appearance as “the chorus” and you all know how little we appreciate actors who insist Shakespeare didn’t write his plays and then make their career off his genius. Yeah, that’s right, Jacobi. We’re calling you out.
And, of course, the continuation of the Hollow Crown series is a must. We’ve recommended each one leading up to Henry V (because they’re great), and Henry V is no exception. Tom Hiddleston handles Hal’s transition to Henry V beautifully and the production value is topnotch. Just try not to think about the fact that Hiddleston burned his man card when he publicly wore an “I heart TS” T-shirt at Taylor Swift’s beach party… Oy.
That’s all for me, my friends! Enjoy!