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Friday, December 29, 2006
Shakespeare at the video store
Marginal Revolution is a wide-ranging blog written by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, who are both affiliated with George Mason University's James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy -- though the blog strays from politics and econ, as a recent post suggests. Cowen brings to our attention Ron Rosenbaum's most recent book, "The Shakespeare Wars," and cites the author's contention that there's more great Shakespeare available on DVD, tape, or film than could be seen by a viewer in years and years of theater-going.
He cites the following list of most worthy purchases:
1. Orson Welles, Chimes at Midnight [TC: also Welles's best movie] 2. Peter Brook, King Lear 3. Richard III, with Laurence Olivier 4. Hamlet, with Richard Burton
Cowen adds his view that "Chimes at Midnight" is also Welles's best film (really?), and wants to add Welles's Othello, and (gasp) Baz Luhrmann's "William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet," a gangland weirdly dystopic number starring our dear Leo DiCaprio.
This is a fun game. I wouldn't pretend to a comprehensive viewpoint here -- the list is too long -- but I remember great affection for Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet" and "Much Ado About Nothing" and enormous distaste for the 1995 "Othello" that starred Branagh, Laurence Fishburne, and, alas, one of my all-time favorites, Irene Jacob.