Originally published in 1990, this book brought a new rigor and subtlety to the interpretation of film adaptations of Shakespeare. Drawing on traditional literary analysis, psychoanalysis, and current film theory about gender and subjectivity, the author combines close readings of seven films with historical and biographical studies of the directors who made them.
Offering substantial readings of Jean-Luc Godard’s controversial deconstructed King Lear and of Liz White’s independent African-American Othello, Donaldson also applies his provocative and contemporary point of view to more familiar films. He reads Olivier’s Henry V in relation to its treatment of sexual difference; Olivier’s Hamlet in part as an expression of the director’s childhood sexual trauma; Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood as an allegory of the relationship between Western and Japanese cinema; and Zeffirelli’s immensely popular Romeo and Juliet in the light of its powerful homoerotic subtext.
With striking perspectives on Shakespeare, on the movies as an expressive medium, and on the complex processes of cultural change, this is timeless useful reading for teachers and students of film and literature.
Preface 1. "Claiming from the Female:" Gender and Representation in Laurence Olivier’s Henry V 2. Olivier, Hamlet, and Freud 3. Surface and Depth: Throne of Blood as Cinematic Allegory 4. Mirrors and M/Others: The Welles Othello 5. "Haply for I Am Black": Liz White’s Othello 6. "Let Lips Do What Hands Do": Male Bonding, Eros, and Loss in Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet 7. Disseminating Shakespeare: Paternity and Text in Jean-Luc Godard’s King Lear. Filmography
Reissuing works originally published between 1968 and 1993, Routledge Library Editions: Film and Literature offers a selection of scholarship covering the crossover of novels and the movies. Volumes on Shakespearean and Greek Tragedy films among others round this out to be an interesting compact collection of previously out-of-print works.