Slings And Arrows


Richard Burton playing Hamlet, “To Be or not to be,” and “Get thee to a nunnery.”

There are aspects here of Burton’s performance that could be criticized but there’s no doubt he had the voice, emotional sensibility, intelligence and nobility of character to be a great Hamlet.

“For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have proved most royally.”

Linda Marsh as Ophelia

Thanks to YouTuber tvclassics

5 thoughts on “Slings And Arrows

  1. Last night, I saw an Indian version of Hamlet set in Kashmir. Not the best I’ve see, but not the worst.

    I think Olivier is the one to beat. It seems every production has its stand outs, though: Glen Close as Gertrude, Robin Williams as Osric, Billy Crystal as a Gravedigger.

    Once, during the cold war, the Soviet embassy showed a Russian version at my college. Very intense…

    • Olivier was a little too dreamy for me. I don’t really believe that the play is about a man who has trouble taking action.

      The best stage version I ever saw was Nicol Williamson’s. A movie was made of it but it didn’t capture the energy of his stage performance that well. Believe it or not, I thought Mel Gibson’s go at it was pretty good, too.

      My favorite performance in a play of Hamlet was by an actor named Jack Davidson who played the Player King to William Hurt’s Hamlet. When he acted the story of the death of Hecuba for Hamlet, it was extraordinary—you understood why Hamlet said “What’s Hecuba to him or he to Hecuba that he should weep for her?”The old actor had the audience in tears, and then he gave a quick smile and laughed, as if to say, “See? It’s a game–I’m just acting.”

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