The other night I stayed up to watch WNED to see a couple of episodes of The Hollow Crown, the amalgam of the history (the four Henrys plus Richard III) plays of Shakespeare directed by Dominic Cooke , former artistic director of Royal Court Theatre, with Benedict Cumberbatch (very hot right now) as Richard III. The entire cycle was on BBC, concluding this series (2016), under the same name. I wish I had seen the plays. It was an unfair competition.
I think Dominic Cooke got carried away by the magic of movies: action and power competing with Shakespeare. I had to shut my eyes or merely peek at all the slit throats and severed heads, jammed on pikes, and lots and lots of blood, and mud. I kept waiting to hear Cumberbatch do Richard. But when his turn came, Cooke was so intent on camera angles that the actor didn’t stand a chance. We got Cumberbatch’s nostrils, high shots, head shots, shoulder shots (the side with a hump) with no opportunity for the viewer to savour the character, his speech and subtleties.
There’s no arguing that Shakespeare does movies very well. His dramaturgy is filmic, cinematic, if you will, in short - “dramatic” - would you believe???
But his plays cannot be turned into blockbusters. Riicahrd Three will never be Rogue One. Nor should it be.