Henry V

Henry V (Laurence Olivier, 1944) dp Robert Krasker, camera op Jack Hildyard; Laurence Olivier

Technicolor was used in this, which might be why DOP Krasker needed a camera operator who gets the next credit: it was complicated. The colour seems very bright, except obviously for the night scene before Agincourt, quite a bit of which has black behind a group of characters: this I imagine would have required considerable skill.

Something like two-thirds of Shak's words have been cut from the script. The film was esssentially made as 'propaganda', as the Normandy landings approached, and Olivier and his writing collaborators only left in what they regarded as appropriate or necessary. (Tho they brought in the death of Falstaff from another play, for some unknown reason.)

It all seems a bit rushed and, dare I say, shallow, to me. But it was made during conditions of total war, and it seeps through the brilliance of the scenery. Sir Laurence is exceptional, of course.

The idea of beginning at the Globe for a performance of the play (and returning there at the end) before heading off for France via an effective transition Globe-Southampton – was an excellent one. However, the backstage scene was crowded with loveys –  and the humour throughout is over the top.

Garry Gillard | New: 25 May, 2024 | Now: 27 May, 2024