Hamlet (Criterion) - missing dialogue?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rain, Dec 31, 2001.

  1. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Ok, I should have probably dug up more specific details before posting it, but since I rarely have a computer and my DVD player available simultaneously, we'll just go from memory and see what happens.

    I'm referring to the scene in the film when Polonious tells Ophelia to basically stay the hell away from Hamlet. I'm not sure of the exact line, but after he says this, he seems to mouth something, but there is no dialogue audible, though the music score can still be clearly heard.

    I'm wondering if there is a line missing or if the actor was just having a mouth spasm or something. I suppose it is also possible that Olivier opted to remove whatever line was there in the final version.

    I tried to compare the dialogue to the play, but as you know Olivier took liberties and there are several lines in the play that are spoken in the spot I'm referring to, so obviously this scene is not verbatim.

    Anyone have any idea?

    If not, I'll check on the time in the disc this happens, so I can be more specific.
     
  2. Coressel

    Coressel Supporting Actor

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    I just checked out the scene I thought you were talking about (Chapter 6?) and can't find a spot where Polonius's mouth is moving with no dialogue. Do you remember if it was early in the film? Or was it later, like after "Get thee to a nunnery?"
     
  3. Bill McCamy

    Bill McCamy Second Unit

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    I do not have the Criterion Collection version. I am waiting patiently for Branagh's magnificent film. But enough about me, check the text at the particular scene to see if anything has been edited.
     
  4. Darrel Johansen

    Darrel Johansen Stunt Coordinator

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    I, too, am waiting patiently for Branagh's, as it's the only complete film version.

    If you correlate the text, you might be surprised that often the directors take a lot of liberties. Taken to the extreme, check out the Mel Gibson version sometime --entire scenes are swapped around --usually, though, things are just omitted to make the fairly long play fit into normal movie time frame (about 2 hours).

    If you can give an exact time of the portion you are concerned about, I'd check it out on my system.
     
  5. Coressel

    Coressel Supporting Actor

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    I just checked out more of the Criterion DVD of Olivier's Hamlet and still can't find the bit in question.

    I honestly don't think that Zeffirelli's text is any more edited and switched around than Olivier's. At least Rosencrantz and Guildenstern actually appear in the Mel Gibson film.

    All movie versions of Shakespeare shuffle and cut the text a bit. Even Branagh's 4-hour film has a few changes here and there.
     
  6. Darrel Johansen

    Darrel Johansen Stunt Coordinator

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  7. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Even most stage productions of Hamlet are redacted these days. The play is simply too long for audiences to sit through when acted in the modern style. I've done Hamlet twice and never from the complete text.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  8. Darrel Johansen

    Darrel Johansen Stunt Coordinator

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  9. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Sorry, guys...I forgot to check the time. I will check it tonight and post again.

    The text of the play will do me now good, since Olivier took great liberties with it. At the point in question, there is considerable dialogue from the play which was omitted.
     
  10. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    The moment in question comes at approx. 24:35 right after Polonius speaks the line "Marry, I'll teach you: Think youself a baby."

    Well?
     
  11. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    In case anyone is interested in this at all (though it would not appear to be the case), I thought it best to go right to the source, so I emailed Jon Mulvany with the question.

    I'll let you know what I find out.
     
  12. Coressel

    Coressel Supporting Actor

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    I haven't had a chance to check it out again. I will tonight and post what my disc does at that point in the movie.
     
  13. Darrel Johansen

    Darrel Johansen Stunt Coordinator

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    Me too.
     
  14. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    FYI:

    I received an email from Jon Mulvany. Apparently, I'm the first person ever to ask about this. He suspects (as do I, though I'd like to make sure) that the "missing line" is inherent to the original version (my theory: maybe a line Olivier decided to delete after filming), but he said he would check with the DVD Producer to see if he can find out more.

    I'll let you all know.
     
  15. Coressel

    Coressel Supporting Actor

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    Well I just looked at the scene and I still can't tell exactly what you're talking about!

    Oh well...
     
  16. Darrel Johansen

    Darrel Johansen Stunt Coordinator

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    I checked it out. The dialog for Polonius is quite obviously dubbed. This is fairly common, but what is uncommon is that they did not try to match the dubbed dialog exactly to his lips for this section. I suspect that rather than something being omitted, the timing was changed for dramatic effect. Possibly, he flubbed his dialog in the original, but they wanted to keep the scene for other reasons --or maybe they just wanted a different pacing or word accentuation --who knows? Still a pretty common practice on movies --usually not so obvious, though.
     

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