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Shakespeare in the Movies: From the Silent Era to Shakespeare in Love (Literary Artist's Representatives) Hardcover – 27 Apr 2000

1 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (27 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195139585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195139587
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.3 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,921,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

He [Brode] includes a substantial number of foreign films, thus departing from the current tendency to focus on mainstream films in English. (Years Work in English Studies)

Clear and opinionated about interpretations and performances. (Sixteenth Century Journal)

About the Author

Douglas Brode is Professor of Film at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication, Syracuse University and the author of eighteen books, including Money, Women, and Guns: Crime Movies from Bonnie and Clyde to the Present, The Films of the Eighties, and From Walt to Woodstock: How Disney Created the Counter-Culture, (forthcoming from OUP).


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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is possibly the worst book on the subject I have ever read. The author makes WILD unsupported assertions about Shakespeare's life, infers biographical influences on the plays, based upon unproven dating of their writing, and , deeply offensively, assumes a position of faux-chumminess by referring to Shakespeare as "Will" throughout, as if he makes these assertions based upon some sort of intimate knowledge by having spoken to him. He then proceeds to MISS THE POINT of most of the films he writes about.

I would only recommend this book to someone I hated. Unless there were an acute toilet paper shortage. In that case I could recommend it to many more. Avoid it. There are so many GOOD books on the subject out there. This one takes up a space in the world which could more profitably be occupied by a cow pat.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8a8fe54c) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8a90c09c) out of 5 stars Caveat emptor 25 Aug. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Read the review in the Spring 2000 issue of The Shakespeare Newsletter before purchasing this book. The review begins, "Briefly, this is so dreadfully bad a book that it, quite literally, ought to be withdrawn from publication" (18); the review amply substantiates this judgment in several thousand words quoting and describing the egregious errors in this book.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8a90c504) out of 5 stars One Star is Generous 11 July 2001
By M. Jensen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is so bad, Amazon needs to come up with a NO STAR option. There are a stunning number of factual errors. Literally dozens, maybe into three digits. The author's grasp of the material is always superficial. I can't imagine a worse book on this subject. I know this sounds like hyperbole. It is not.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8a90c528) out of 5 stars Decent on film, weak on Shakespeare 25 Dec. 2007
By Lance Wilcox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This could have been such an interesting and informative book if only it had been written by someone with a real knowledge of Shakespeare. Brode rails against academics and their stranglehold on Shakespeare and is punished for his reverse snobbery by his ignorance. He seems to have studied Shakespeare at an English boy's school in the 1940s and casually skipped the last several decades' scholarship. This shows in his repeated attempts to tie individual plays in a simple-minded fashion to events in Shakespeare's life, claiming, for instance, that Shakespeare wrote "Othello" out of his feelings of jealousy regarding Anne Hathaway, a claim that has precisely nothing beyond Brode's own theatrical imagination to support it. He also repeatedly harps on Shakespeare's optimism even in his darkest plays, seeing them as unmediated revelations of the playwright's philosophy of life. He doesn't consider that Shakespeare as an artist might simply have been working within the conventions that govern tragedy as a genre. Few tragedies have ever ended in a vision of total nihilism; some sense of human dignity is almost always saved from the ruins. In effect, Brode is interpreting Shakespeare through the critical presuppositions of the Romantics rather than the Renaissance, reducing the plays to exercises in self-expression.

Brode reveals a stiff conservatism in what he accepts as legitimate film Shakespeare, generally trashing more experimental films, such as "Titus," on grounds that seem less aesthetic than merely crabby. On the one hand, he celebrates the film director's power to free Shakespeare from the stage to the screen with all its unique resources; on the other hand, he quickly gets prickly and sarcastic when directors push beyond a fairly staid presentation.

He is, finally, capable of making plain factual mistakes in his accounts of the films themselves. For instance, he describes the young boy in "Titus" as returning home at the end of the story's events in a scene of total bombed out nihilism. This simply isn't the case. The young boy, carrying the baby of Aaron the Moor, slowly walks out of the Roman arena into a sunrise in a superb gesture of hope transcending chaos and blood, a scene which Brode seems not have remembered when he was writing his chapter.

Generally speaking, Brode is not a bad observer of film technique - one can learn to watch a movie more closely from his analyses - but the more familiar you are with the works of Shakespeare themselves, the less satisfactory you are likely to find this book.
HASH(0x8a90c84c) out of 5 stars Gentle Who? 19 July 2014
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
One of the many disappointing things about this book is that it contains a lot of material about Orson Welles's work in the Shakespeare canon without mentioning that Welles didn't think the man whom the author calls "gentle Will" wrote the Shakespeare canon. Welles thought Edward de Vere wrote it, and is often quoted on that in "Oxfordian" literature, although not at any length. Does Welles's Oxfordian orienation come across in his film or stage adaptations? An interesting question, but there's no inkling of such things in this superficial treatment. The author's "gentle Will" has no resemblance to the historical William of Stratford, let alone to English literature's greatest poet, whoever that was.
0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8a90c978) out of 5 stars Five Stars is just not enough! 11 Jan. 2005
By Chris Emily - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Unlike M Jenson, who get's his facts from a cereal box, Douglas Brode thoroughly researched Shakespeare's impact on cinema in this text. Always entertaining, Brode once again shows his vast knowledge of the subject at hand, providing commonly know facts with delicious little tidbits that the lay person may not know, but needs to know.
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