If the release of Kenneth Branagh’s Thor is making you nostalgic for his Shakespearian period, you’re not alone. So what better time to talk about Hamlet at Elsinore? Made in 1964 to commemorate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, and rarely seen since, this version of the play has become legendary. Filmed on location at Kronborg Castle in Denmark, it drew together a fantastic cast: Christopher Plummer (The Last Station) as Hamlet, Michael Caine as Horatio and Robert Shaw (A Man for All Seasons) as Claudius. Even smaller parts were carefully cast. A young Donald Sutherland delivers as Fortinbras in the final scene, and Sixties comedian Roy Kinnear (Willy Wonka, Help!) worked his special magic as the Gravedigger.
A couple of years ago, we were at an event in which Michael Caine declared that Plummer was the best Hamlet he had ever seen, and that prompted us to make a serious search of the BBC Archive for viable footage. We’re happy to announce that this year we restored the film digitally, and it was shown at the Sarasota Film Festival last month. As an extra, we are including the interview with Christopher Plummer taped onstage at the festival. To get an inkling of what’s in store from Hamlet at Elsinore, check out the video below. While it’s a tantalizing sampling of short, unrestored clips, it once was all anyone could hope to see. Look for the DVD this fall.
FAN ALERT: This week’s Doctor Who episode “The Doctor’s Wife” is the one that Neil Gaiman fans have been looking forward to even before last season began. The author of American Gods, The Graveyard Book, Coraline and Sandman is a life-long Doctor Who fan, and we can’t wait to see the result of this meeting of the minds. It airs on BBC America at 9pm ET on Saturday, May 14th .
Tags: a man for all seasons, BBC America, Christopher Plummer, Doctor Who, donald sutherland, elsinore, Hamlet, Kenneth Branagh, Matt Smith, michael caine, Neil Gaiman, robert shaw, roy kinnear, Shakespeare, the doctor's wife, the last station