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Friday, 22 June 2012

Henry V (1944)

Spotlight on... Royalty on Film

Henry V is the 1944 adaptation of the play by William Shakespeare, and stars and is directed by the brilliant Laurence Olivier.  In fact, the full title of the film as it appears in the opening credits is "The Cronicle History of King Henry the Fift with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France" - this was the title of the 1600 quarto edition of the play.

The film begins recreating Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, where we feel part of the audience of a production of Henry V.  This was an effective technique used by Olivier, and gives a sense of realism of what the world would have been like during this time - it even rains halfway through the performance wetting the audience. The film later transitions into a stylised scenery and real life sets, before reverting to backdrops.

Beautifully filmed in vibrant colour, the film was intended to be a morale booster for Britain towards the end of World War II, and was partly funded by the British government.

Olivier won an Honorary Oscar for his "Outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director in bringing Henry V to the screen".

The film is considered to be the best adaptation of 'Henry V', and possibly one of the best film adaptions of any Shakespeare play.

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