Why "Hamlet" Went 70mm
"Hamlet" is the first British film in 25 years to be filmed in 65mm. The man
charged with capturing the look of the film was cinematographer Alex
Thomson. The chance to use the 65mm format was irresistible for Thomson. He
had been preparing to shoot "Nostromo" in 65mm for David Lean when the
"The fabulous advantage of 70mm is the sharpness of detail it
gives, which can look three-dimensional at times," says Thomson. "This film
has glorious sets and costumes and the widescreen format really brings them
"Why did you [Kenneth Branagh] choose to film
"Hamlet" in 65mm?
of 70mm is the sharpness of the images it offers. With 70mm, we get a chance
to go from what is essentially a personal, domestic story about a family and
its' problems to the epic dimension that reflects the effects of those
problems on the nation. We can go from the very intimate events in the court
to the plains of northern Europe and see Fortinbras for the opportunistic
leader he was, ready to invade with thousands of soldiers. 70mm is able to
give that tremendous sweep so you feel the impact of the story, but it also
has an incredible delicate touch, too."
"Hamlet" Opening Dates
February 6 (Holland), February 14 (England), February 15 (South Korea),
February 21 (Turkey), February 26 (Belgium), February 28 (Brazil, Columbia &
Mexico), February (Spain), March 3 (Sweden), March 7 (Italy), March 20
(Australia), February/March (Bolivia), March 26 (Venezuela), March (Croatia,
Greece), April 4 (Denmark), April 24 (New Zealand), April (France), May 16
(South Africa), May 17 (Taiwan), May 21 (Switzerland), May (Singapore).
Quotes from the "Hamlet" reviews
This is the first feature film shot on 65mm stock and projected in 70mm
since "Far And Away" in 1992, and the result is a stunningly handsome
production with tremendous visual clarity and depth. Cinematographer Alex
Thomson has collaborated very creatively with Branagh to keep the film
visually stimulating for four hours, shooting the cascade of dialogue scenes
in different ways, often circling the action and making good use of the
mirrors that panel the principal set of Tim Harvey's sumptuous production
design. Todd McCarthy, Variety, December 9, 1996.
The picture was shot in
70mm, curious for a film lacking in spectacle and with so much time spent in
close-up. The UK`s stately home Blenheim Palace makes an impressive
Elsinore, but some of the artificially created exteriors - the wood, the
snowy plain - are unfashionably unconvincing. Mike Goodbridge, Screen
International, Friday December 20, 1996.
128 votes: 9,4 rating out of 10.
(10 = excellent) Internet Movie Database February 14, 1997.
The cast is
mostly excellent, with Crystal a nice surprise as the gravedigger and
Richard Briers rescuing Polonius from amiable fuddery; this old man is as
much plotter as plodder. If there is a lapse, it is in the central
performance. Spuming his lines with catarrhal intakes of breath punctuating
the bolts of rhetoric, Branagh is a whiz at making the poetry colloquial and
intelligible; he spits out the 400-year-old verse like a rapmaster. But he
cannot so easily make it poetic. Richard Collins, TIME, January 13, 1997.
Kenneth Branagh's four hour Hamlet proved a mighty entertaining movie for
the starry audience at last night’s celebrity preview. Some admitted they
had gone with trepidation and some doubted the mass audience appeal of so
long a film, but almost all emerged from the Curzon Mayfair singing its
praises. [Actor] Richard E. Grant was equally impressed. "Excellent,
incredibly moving and the clearest Hamlet I have ever seen", he said. Robin
Stringer, Evening Standard, Friday January 17, 1997.
"Hamlet" Is Big Box Office
In the week of January 17, - 23, 5 weeks after a limited 3-screen release,
"Hamlet" had the highest screen average on Variety Box Office list. $ 35.915
"Hamlet" OSCAR Nominated
Tuesday February 11, 1997, "Hamlet" was nominated with the following result:
Best Screenplay Based On Material Previously Published, Best Achievement in
Art Direction, Best Achievement in Music Original Dramatic Score and Best
Achievement in Costume Design.
in 70mm reading:
"Hamlet" to be filmed in 70mm
North American 70mm Engagements
Kenneth Branagh's "HAMLET"