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HAMLET (1948) Review – ***½


“This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind.” (Source)

The quintessential Shakespearean actor of his time, playing the quintessential Shakespearean character in the quintessential Shakespearean play—directing it as well, and adapting/heavily cutting the text? It’s hard to imagine a classier enterprise, and the Academy agreed, giving the film Best Picture and Olivier Best Actor, the only Shakespearean film and performance to be so honored.

But how does it hold up 70 years after the fact?

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When you’re not sure if the film you’re watching is supposed to be a comedy or not, there’s usually something wrong. (Source)

Mister Buddwing is one of those films I knew about long before I ever saw it. I forget exactly how–I think I saw a vintage promotional film on TCM–but I also knew it had a couple of Oscar nominations, for its sets and costumes. Not because the sets and costumes were so memorable, mind you, but because it came out in the final year of the B&W/Color split for Art Direction, Cinematography, and Costume Design at the Oscars, and suitable nominees were scarce.

Wanting to finally see the film for myself, I checked it out of the library, and was not shocked to discover that it was no lost masterpiece, but an odd film with a few strong features that mostly earns its obscurity.

Spoilers ahead.

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