Hamlet (1990 film)

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Hamlet is a 1990 drama film based on the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet. It was directed by Franco Zeffirelli, with Mel Gibson as the young Prince Hamlet. It was also the first film from Icon Productions, a company Gibson co-founded.

Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, and Dover Castle were used as locations in the film.



The cast includes three actors - Paul Scofield, Alan Bates, and Ian Holm - who had themselves played Hamlet on stage or film. It also features two actors - Stephen Dillane and Michael Maloney - who went on to play Hamlet onstage.

Adaptation and interpretation

Film scholar Deborah Cartmell has suggested that Zeffirelli's Shakespeare films are appealing because they are "sensual rather than cerebral", an approach by which he aims to make Shakespeare "even more popular". To this end, he cast Gibson — then famous for the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon films — in the title role. Cartmell also notes that the text is drastically cut, but with the effect of enhancing the roles of the women.

J. Lawrence Guntner has suggested that Zeffirelli's cinematography borrows heavily from the action film genre that made Gibson famous, noting that its average shot length is less than six seconds. In casting Gibson, the director has been said to have made the star's reputation part of the performance, encouraging the audience "to see the Gibson that they have come to expect from his other films" Indeed, Gibson was cast after Zeffirelli watched his character, Martin Riggs, contemplate suicide in Lethal Weapon. [1] The fight between Hamlet and Laertes is an example of using Gibson's experience in action movies; the whole fight depicts Hamlet not as the dark and brooding character found in Shakespeare's text, but as a cocky fighter much like many of Gibson's previous roles.

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