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This is one great and also quite unique Shakespeare adaptation.

One of the foremost things that makes this movie unique is the fact that it's not simply based on one William Shakespeare play but instead is a compilation and free interpretation of 5 different ones. So even those who already are very familiar with Shakespeare, will still find plenty of surprises in this movie and get plenty out of it as well.

Another thing that makes this movie special, is that it's a very lively production. You can say all you want but most older movies based on Shakespeare plays are incredibly dry and static ones. Almost like you are watching a stage-play, if you will. Not this movie however. It's surprisingly fast paced and with its 113 minutes, it's also 'pleasantly short'.

It also has a good and pleasant story in it, that definitely feels and sounds truly Shakespeare. It has all of the typical ingredients and also characters in it, which is no surprise of course, since this movie is being a compiled version of 5 of his different plays.

It's all being very well told and directed, by Orson Welles himself, who also plays the main lead. I don't know what is better, Welles his acting or his directing of this movie. It's really pleasantly told and paced all, with often humor but also always a sense for drama and tension in it. His acting is sublime as well but man, did Welles look huge and bloated in this movie. Quite amazing the psychical transformation he went through, throughout the years.

But of course Welles is not just the only great actor in this movie. Shakespeare actor John Gielgud also plays a very good role, as Henry IV and I also quite liked Margaret Rutherford, who is perhaps better known as the first and original movie Miss Marple.

It's also a pretty good looking movie. It's black & white, like basically every classic Shakespeare movie adaptation and it uses some good looking settings and sets. It most certainly did not look like a cheap production, while the movie still apparently only cost $800,000 to make.

Really not much bad to say about this movie. Definitely a must-see, if you are into these sort of movies or Shakespeare.

9/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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