The Royal Shakespeare Company has filmed their new production of Hamlet. Starring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart, this stellar piece has been receiving loads of well-deserved accolades. Shakespeare done well is always worth watching, and this production is amazingly fresh and exciting even for folks like us who have seen umpteen versions of the play.
If you missed its PBS airing here in the states, you’re in luck–it’s now out on DVD and Blu-ray from BBC Home Video. The features for both versions are the same–you get a very insightful commentary with director Gregory Doran, producer Sebastian Grant, and cinematographer Chris Seager, as well as a Making of Hamlet featurette. The commentary features not only information about the production but also Doran’s interpretation of the play as a whole as they go along–which is quite fascinating to listen to. The Making of gives you time with Tennant and Stewart, as well as Doran and Penny Downie (who played Gertrude). Sadly on a smidgen of time is spent with Oliver Ford Davies (who played Polonius) and no time with someone I would have loved to hear from: Horatio (Peter De Jersey). If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, of great performances and direction, or just want to see a compelling story, please pick it up. The Blu-ray set is only $4 more than the DVD as I write this, and the quality is so clear, it’s worth the extra bucks for it even though there are no added features. That’s if you have the hi-def capability. If not, the DVD will do as well. Even if you don’t wish to own it (although you should), at least watch it however you can. It’s excellent.