Agincourt

October 25, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, HISTORY, Plays |

"These wounds I had on Crispin's Day" (Image from Chroniques d’Enguerrand de Monstrelet)

(Fought 25 October 1415) (Play by William Shakespeare, 1599) (Dir. Laurence Olivier, 1944) (Dir. Kenneth Branagh, 1989) On St Crispin’s Day, King Henry V of England gained a brilliant, against-all-odds and in ultimate strategic terms, futile victory.  Henry and his army were pinned near the castle Agincourt, far from the coast and outnumbered at least 3 to 1.  Henry made offers of concessions, but the enemy insisted he renounce the French Crown and get out of town. A combination of weather, topography and the English long-bow turned the tide in what proved to be a very nasty battle, a fight to the finish…

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Macbeth

October 1, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, Plays, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

"Out, damned spot!" (Polanski version)

(by William Shakespeare) (1606) (Dir. Justin Kurzel) (2015) (Advance screening, Adelaide 29/9/15) [Films noted in passing: (Dir. Roman Polanski) (1971), (Dir. Orson Welles) (1948)] The Scottish Play is the Bard’s tightest, tautest, most nightmarish work,  It contains his best poetry – in fact, almost every line is superb and has no waste.  It’s personae encapsulate all of Freud and his successors, but says it better. Macbeth lays bare for us the fatal links whereby valour and honour, under the strains of chance, imagination and “vaulting ambition”, lead to evil acts, and ultimately, overweening psychopathy – a manual showing us how one good, or bad, step downwards leads to the next, and…

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Glengarry Glen Ross

September 26, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, Plays, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

"We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know first prize is a Cadillac Elderado...3rd prize is you're fired."

(Written by David Mamet) (Dir. James Foley) (1992) The sales staff get the leads, such as they are.  They go out on sits, when (in various guises) they descend on the unsuspecting and try to sell them what sounds very much like swampland.  The salesmen are driven less by greed and more by fear because as the motivational guy has just confirmed, failure to close the deal is death. This film of Mamet’s play is stagy (of course), but with top-shelf power acting (by Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Alec Baldwin and Jonathon Pryce), it amounts to…

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Incitement

April 7, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, Plays, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Caesar stabbed in the forum & elsewhere, painted by Vincenzo Camuccini (@ Moderna)

Julius Caesar (1601) (Dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1953) A good film of a great play, scribbled when Shakespeare was limbering up and entering his white hot phase.  The story is mainly of Brutus, nicely and very glumly played by James Mason as the ‘reluctant’ conspirator.  All of the key players are good, although one might say Louis Calhern plays Caesar much like he was as the big spy boss in Notorious (that playing strangely fits the minor but key part in the play but is much too vigorous for a 66 year old prone to fainting spells).  Suetonius called Caesar “deified”  and suggested that…

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Richard III

April 1, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, Plays |

(2 Oct. 1452 – 22 Aug. 1485) Art departs from life? Buried (again) in March 2015, Richard III, dug up from a Leicester car park, was given a reverential cortege and buried in Leicester Cathedral.  The Tudors would be spinning in their Westminster caskets. Despite the efforts of Horace Walpole, Josephine Tey, and the Society named after him, the infamous scoliotic usurper has received a rather bad press since those kids, Edward V and his younger brother, Richard, Duke of York, ‘vanished’ from the Tower in 1483, and his death at Bosworth Field two years later.   Shakespeare’s play (1593), with…

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