Book The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film is a string of essays describing the problems involved in adapting what is essentially a thearical form to cinema. It's an academic work and so the writing is quite dry at times and because we have essays we have repetition - how many times you can write about Olivier's 'Richard III'. There are three essays of note. 'Videos and its paradoxes' looks at the use of video as a study aid, and how the prouctions on show can colour the student's view of the play - so Anthony Hopkins characterisation of Othello in the BBC production is wildly different to Lawrence Fishburne's in the recent film - neither is necessarily correct, but the student might not make that connection. 'Filming Shakespeare;s history: three films of Richard III' offers the best and most honest review of Paccino's 'Looking for Richard' I've read, treating the film on it's own merrits and not as a version of the actual play. Finally, 'Flambiyant realist: Kenneth Branagh' again tries to re-dress the critical mauling his films have been subjected to - there really isn't anything like the four hour 'Hamlet'. The one disappointment is 'Shakespeare's cinematic offshoots' which looks at adaptations which are re-imaginings of the text. It's cursary, anodine and misses out 'In The Bleak Midwinter' and 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead'. Why?

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