The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with his battell fought at Agincourt in France by Will Shakespeare

The film no longer belongs to Olivier but to Renoir (Le Carrosse d’or) and Russell (The Devils) and Kurosawa (Ran) and Bergman (The Magic Flute), in that order.

The rest is Shakespeare.



The potent poison has a Freudian dimension that lines up Laertes and Claudius at the last, against Hamlet, but it quite o’ercrows his spirit. Nevertheless, the camera shows his progress to the heights with the very symbols of the film (cannons, rounded portals and windows) justly aligned for the first time.

This manner of construction will of course leave out the critics, who do not understand the term and generally misuse it to mean suggestive and naughty.

There is always the concern to make a film, the organizational principle works from first to last informing the pictures.

Peter Brook borrowed from the ghost for King Lear. The dizzying ascent up the circular stone stairs is reversed in Crichton’s The Lavender Hill Mob and repeated in Fellini’s La dolce vita.


Richard III

Those who fought with Harry upon Saint Crispin’s day are honored in the film, gentles one and all.

The memory of Adolf Hitler was very green and vivid, the dreamlike torpor punctuated with thrusts and shocks, borne along by concatenations in the editing (the bloody axe, a maidservant’s wet cloth), the conscious originality of the direction not without precedents (Lubitsch for the monologue addressed to the camera passing one window after another with a view inside), the list of plays made evident (Julius Caesar, Macbeth), the medievalisms and romanticisms, with Garrick and Cibber, render the film a sumptuous telling.

And at the very end, the Crown of England too is grateful.


The Prince and the Showgirl

The Prince and the Showgirl

Rattigan’s screenplay on the ordering of the kingdom bears directly on Zeffirelli’s Tea with Mussolini, indirectly from Cukor’s Born Yesterday.

“Anti-Carpathian activities” mean collusion with the Germans in 1911, the Regent puts them down, the King that is to be conspires.

The American (out of Stroheim’s The Merry Widow) sees things amiss but puts them right.

Olivier as Charlie McCarthy with a foreign accent has lost his Bergen, Monroe very plush from Milwaukee is an understudy like the kinglet, she doesn’t appreciate the hierarchies but that doesn’t matter.

The director plays a joke on himself here and there, the miniature London of Henry V, Hamlet’s cortege bearing the passed-out showgirl to the Regent’s bedroom, whence she emerges next morning with the royal crest on her bum.


The Three Sisters

The Prince and the Showgirl

How one gets from King Lear to Cries and Whispers, they have nothing