A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Sunday, 2 February 2014

A Rhyming Planet

After the demise of Blockbuster, I signed up with Lovefilm. Kubrick, Godard, Woody Allen, Ken Loach, and films about Renoir and Genghis Khan are all in my queue. Plus a lot of stuff starring rard Depardieu.

I've just watched Joss Whedon's Much Ado about Nothing. I can't bear those criticisms about how Shakespeare can't be adapted to present-day settings. Or any historical settings. Of course he can! He's so timeless and universal that possible translations and variations are endless. The 1993 Kenneth Branagh film is not sacrosanct — much as I like it.

This black-and-white movie took a while to get into, and you had to listen hard, but it was worth it. As in any Shakespeare adaptation, it's the soaringly beautiful and witty language that shines through most of all. And Much Ado never disappoints. Though how could Shakespeare ever disappoint?

When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.


Now tell me, for which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?

For them all together . . .


I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.


I would my horse had the speed of your tongue and so good a continuer.


She speaks poniards, and every word stabs: if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her; she would infect to the north star.


I was not born under a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.

This is a most entertaining film/play, full of luscious witticisms, scintillating badinage and lyrical gems. I could have filled many blog posts with equally effervescent quotations.


Friko said...

Erm, I one of those who complain about Shakespeare in modern dress, but worse is if they muck about with the language.

Having said that, I’ll still go and see the play. Don’t often watch film versions; don’t really know why not. I have some of the RSC productions on DVD, does that count?

Whatever, I love Shakespeare.

Rubye Jack said...

Sounds good. I'll look for it. I'm lucky in that we have a couple of good video stores here in Portland. Each is a 15 minute drive but I'd rather do that than rely on Red Box for anything.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Re modern settings Robert - personally I have always found that the setting and clothes tend to distract me - but I am pretty sure that Shakespeare himself would agree with you.

Ruth Mowry said...

I really love adaptations of Shakespeare into modern settings. Dominic West fell into my lap in the front row (1/2 price ticket) of some London play house when he played rambunctious Benedick in a rather antagonistic moment opposite Sienna Miller's Beatrice, and I was entranced, of course (though by which parts, I can't recall).

The Solitary Walker said...

I agree the language is king, Friko. And also agree some modern-dress versions can be dire.

Thanks for your comment, Rubye… and Weaver, yes, settings and costumes may indeed distract. Which is why I love listening to Shakespeare on CD or on the radio. You can concentrate on the language far more.

Literally 'fell into your lap', Ruth?! Is that all you're going to tell us?

Ruth Mowry said...

Literally. It was all staged and intentional, of course. I just happened to be the lucky recipient. :)

He scrambled back on stage quickly, and the rest of the play is a blur.

George said...

I loved the Kenneth Branagh film, and generally support modern adaptations of Shakespeare. Some are better than others, but they all represent creative efforts to keep Shakespeare accessible to modern cultures. The themes of Shakespeare, of course, are timeless and universal, so there is no need to consign them to any particular era.

Ruth Mowry said...

My sincere apologies! It was such a blur that I had the wrong play! It was As You Like It, not Much Ado. No wonder I couldn't find anything about it online. :|

martine said...

My daughter is both a huge Joss Whedon fan and a huge Shakespeare fan, she adored this film. Quote Shakespeare all you want.

The Solitary Walker said...

Agreed, George!

And Ruth — Dominic West on your knee… I'm fantasising Sienna Miller on mine… mmm...

The Solitary Walker said...

I may just do that, Martine! I love Shakespeare. His timelessness, his originality, his modernity are staggering, and will always be so (whoops, tautology about timelessness there). And he wrote some of the most beautiful, witty and memorable lines ever written.

Hey, your daughter has been just so well brought up :)

Dominic Rivron said...

A rhyming planet? I get the astrological allusion now I've read the post. When I clicked on it I was thinking Mars - bazaars, Saturn - pattern, etcetera, and how some planets just don't seem to rhyme with anything.

The Solitary Walker said...

Uranus — contain us? Venus — heinous?