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All the World's a Screen - Shakespeare on Film

Documentary exploring the rich, global history of Shakespeare in the cinema, with a treasure trove of film extracts and archival interviews with their creators.

From the silent days of cinema, Shakespeare's plays have often been adapted to the big screen. Film-makers relished his vivid characters and dramatic plots as well as the magic and poetry of his work.

At first the results were patchy, then came Laurence Olivier. With Henry V, made to stir patriotic spirit during the Second World War, he perfectly translated Shakespeare from the stage to the screen. He followed Henry V with Hamlet, and both were smash hits. Olivier led the way for directors as diverse as Orson Welles, Kurosawa, Franco Zeffirelli, Roman Polanski, Baz Luhrmann and Kenneth Branagh.

The Bard's language has been no barrier, with bold versions of his dramas coming out of Russia, Japan, India and many other countries, not to mention Hollywood's free adaptations in genres as diverse as musicals and science fiction. Already over 30 films worldwide have been produced based on Romeo and Juliet alone.

For the first time in a single documentary, Arena explores the rich, global history of Shakespeare in the cinema, with a treasure trove of film extracts and archival interviews with their creators.

1 hour

Credits

Role Contributor
Narrator Penelope Wilton
Series Editor Anthony Wall
Editor David Thompson
Writer David Thompson
Writer Adrian Wootton
Producer David Thompson
Producer Adrian Wootton

Broadcast