Branagh Hamlet coming to DVD

This will please some regular readers. Movie Web have news that a Region One dvd release is coming in August -- and on two discs which means that the bit-rate should be high enough to do justice to the 70mm photography. The details are as follows:
Hamlet 2-Disc Special Edition (1996):

- Running Time: 242 minutes
- Color
- Rating: PG-13
- Audio: Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English, French and Spanish subtitles. (feature film only)

In this first-ever full-text film of Shakespeare's greatest work, nominated for 4 Academy Awards®, the power surges through every scene. The timeless tale of murder, corruption and revenge is reset in an opulent 19th-century world, using sprawling Blenheim Palace as Elsinore with much of the action staged in shimmering mirrored and gold-filled interiors. The luminous cast includes actor/director Kenneth Branagh, Kate Winslet, Derek Jacobi, Julie Christie, Robin Williams, Jack Lemmon, Billy Crystal and Charlton Heston.

The excitement of the Bard's words and Branagh's adventurous filmmaking style lift the story from its often shadowy ambience to fully-lit pageantry and rage. Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said, "In the 80 years that works of world literature have been adapted for the screen, few filmmakers have attempted so much and with such success."

DVD Features:
- Introduction by director/star Kenneth Branagh
- Commentary by Kenneth Branagh and Shakespeare scholar Russell Jackson
- Featurette To Be on Camera: A History with Hamlet
- 1996 Cannes Film Festival promo
The extras aren't of the order of Lord of the Rings but with over four hours to chat, Ken and Russell will probably cover much of the ground. The 'To Be On Camera' featurette is the same one that appeared on its own tape accompanying the film on its original vhs release and although it is alright, it's not a patch on any of the BBC documentaries that turned up around the cinema release. Perhaps when the UK release drifts around they might appear as exclusive items. The package has a reasonable price of $19.97 which'll probably double in region two.

For the really interested, it's also appearing as part of a boxset, The Shakespeare Collection with Max Reinhardt's A Midsummer Night's Dream (with James Cagney as Bottom!), Larry Olivier's Othello and MGM's Romeo and Juliet - none of which have anything in common other than the obvious and that their rights are now owned by Warner Brothers. Still excellent value at just under sixty dollars. [via]

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