Frühling für Hitler und Deutchland!


For those of you who don't live in my head (and I'm pretty sure that's most of you), the USPS decided that my order to forward mail to my parents after the first of July meant "as soon as possible." As a result, I lost two days of mail, and had it start up just in time to get a letter saying the University wants my building gone (that's another story--and a hell of a weekend of waiting for 8:00 on Monday). The upshot of the mail bit was that it started on a day when Netflix was due. So after many long days of me wondering just where in the hell my Netflix DVDs went, I got them today: Richard III (1995); The Producers (1968); and Dead Man (1995). The last will have to wait, since it's late right now and I do have school tomorrow, but the other two were pretty interesting.

Richard III stars Ian McKellen as the title incarnation of pure evil, and it damn well shows. In fact the movie is almost entirely McKellen and his Dr. Evil smirk, so much so that when the play ends (spoiler) with his plunging to firey death, it... ends. Right there. No "and Henry Bollinbroke became King of All England and Order was Restored in time for Catholocism to fall and Capitalism to Rise." In fact, though it's been a while since I've read the play, I'm pretty sure there were other speaking parts. Don't get me wrong--it was great acting, great sets, great idea (hm, Fascist 30's Britain = the late 15th century), it just didn't work out well, and was so tied up with R3 that a lot of the usual 'Speare story got lost. As a reviewer at Netflix said:

This is an "alternate history" version of the play, a lavishly realized fascistic England in the '30s. I don't see that this aspect of the film really "says" much about either element: Shakespeare's vision of calculated and self-conscious villainy, or the director's vision of Nazi Germany. It's elaborate but insubstantial window dressing which will delight some (i.e., me) and distress or annoy others. [T]his is streamlined Shakespeare, with a substantially reduced word count, which is likely to be distressing to some viewers and indeed troubles me.

The Producers was also pretty good, except that it felt rushed toward the end. Otherwise, though, it felt, well, exactly like a late-sixties camp comedy, complete with drag, drawn out musical numbers, and random fetishistic scopophilia.

A Max Byalastock production.

No comments: