HAMLET (1948) B/W 155m dir: Laurence Olivier

w/Laurence Olivier, Eileen Herlie, Basil Sydney, Jean Simmons, Norman Wooland, Felix Aylmer, Terence Morgan, Peter Cushing, Stanley Holloway, John Laurie

From The Movie Guide: "At 155 minutes, this screen adaptation of Shakespeare's most celebrated play bears scars from deep cuts in the text. Hamlet swears to his father's ghost that he will wreak revenge for the man's murder by taking the life of Claudius, who is now married to Hamlet's mother, Gertrude. By cutting the text, Olivier has fashioned a tighter, albeit abridged, version of the famed play. One of its flaws is that, in directing, Olivier should have concentrated more on performances; he had apparently fallen in love with the camera and employed many visual tricks instead of sticking to the lines. However, Olivier always felt that each different Hamlet is an essay, subject to the individual's interpretation.

"HENRY V had been done in color, and many wondered why Olivier chose black and white for his HAMLET. His reasons were the mood of the piece and various technical problems that arose while doing deep-focus photography. Olivier dyed his hair blonde so no one would feel that it was him playing the melancholy Dane. Rather, he wanted them to feel that what they were seeing was Hamlet himself."

HAMLET won four Oscars: Best Picture, Actor (Olivier), Art Direction (Roger K. Furse, Carmen Dillon), and Costume Design (Furse). It was also nominated for Best Director, Supporting Actress (Simmons), and Score (William Walton).