how much of Mr. Brannagh's hamlet was influenced by that of Richard Burtons? : LUSENET : Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet : One Thread

how much of Mr. Brannagh's hamlet and or king henry v, influenced by that of Richard Burtons?

-- Alexander khan (, December 09, 2003


Richard Burton didn't do a Henry V.

-- Patrick Walker (, December 09, 2003.


-- catherine england (, December 09, 2003.

You are utterly mistaken. Mr. Burton performed Henry V at Stratford, and had an L.P.produced and released in 1964, directed by John Halle. If you study the performances of Mr. Branagh and of Mr. Burton you will see uncany similarities, except of course where Mr. Burton had edited his play. At those moments in the texts, Mr. Branagh's rendition seems to take an enormous detour for some reason, only to catch up with Mr. Burton's style where Mr. Burton resumes the recording! This can be proved scientifically. I have researched this conclusively. Mr. Brannagh is more than welcome to sue me. I would be happy to prove the plagiarism in a court of law.

-- Alexander khan (, December 10, 2003.

Poppycock. I've seen Burton's Hamlet and it's simply a product of its time (read as, "painful to watch now"). Branagh's is superior in every respect.

Haven't seen Burton's HV, don't care to.

Branagh rocks.

-- Casey (, December 10, 2003.

'Poppycock' and 'Don't wish to see Mr. Burton's Henry V' are hardly valid arguments. More a bias. You should examine your critical thinking skills.

-- Alexander khan (, December 11, 2003.

It's opinion. Critical thinking is not required. If, in your opinion, Branagh stole from Burton, contact the media and paint the town with your "proof".

In depth analysis on my part would not be possible as I'd rather be dipped in tar and rolled in wire nuts than have to watch Burton's Hamlet over and over again. But that's just me....

-- Casey (, December 11, 2003.

I've seen Burton's HAMLET - thought it rather hammy. I haven't heard the HENRY V, though I've seen the odd clip, I think, in documentaries. 'Plagiarism' is a big, ugly word to be throwing around about something this elusive. I can't really see, with HENRY V, how you can judge similarity or otherwise of 'style' from a sound recording placed against a film: obviously, if two blokes understand a character in the same way, they are going to speak with similar inflexions; but that's not their complete styles. Furthermore, Branagh directed his whole productions. Yet you seem to be saying he's just copied Burton. To accuse Branagh of plagiarism I think you'd need to find a production, in total, that he's copied, and then argue that he's copied the director. So I agree with Casey: it's opinion. Or else I think you need to explain your own critical thinking.

-- catherine england (, December 11, 2003.

Dear Catherine, I’m sorry you find the word plagiarism ‘big and ugly’, It’s a big and ugly trick to pull on the public and on the person from whom you stole without giving credit. If you also find the accurate identification of performance characteristics of Burton and Brannagh, ‘elusive’, that’s entirely your problem. But it does explain why you can’t see the plagiarism. You also say ‘You can’t see how I can compare a sound recording placed against a film’. I don’t want to patronize you Catherine but films have sound recordings too. Nor do two blokes have to have the same styles in private to plagiarize. Indeed because Brannagh has a different normal style of speaking, phrasing etc. that you can tell that he has plagiarized Burton in those performances. It also doesn’t follow that because Brannagh directed his whole production, that he did not copy Burton. Quite the reverse. It gave him total control to copy whatever he chose. Nor is your argument consistent with logic, that for me to accuse Brannagh of plagiarism, I have to find a production that he has copied in ‘Total’, as you say. You are very right Catherine, Brannagh’s production is different, he has a different ‘hair cut’, a different pair of ‘trousers’ and no doubt a different pair of underwear, but that’s not to say that he did not copy the speech and phrasing of Burton. I think you and Casey are very attached to Brannagh, but this attachment is leading you two to create fallacious arguments. Brannagh has plagiarized chunks of Burton’s performances and that’s a fact. We have run this stuff past voice teachers, through sound and acoustic machines....the whole gamut of tests. There is no doubt, theft has occurred and we can prove it scientifically, we stand by our statements and Mr. Brannagh is welcome to take legal action. Indeed we hope he does and the whole thing can come out in the public. It would be good for theatre and for Shakespeare, as Mr. Brannagh and other actors (for he is not the only plagiarist),would than have to create new performances instead of rehashing old masters and taking credit. The problem for Brannagh though, is that he is running out of things to copy, and his future speaking of Shakespeare or other dialogue will not have anywhere near the same brilliance as his Hamlet and Henry V. This is already clear in his other movies and sound recordings, which we have also tested. If you love Shakespeare more than Brannagh, take a closer look, if you love Brannagh more, than carry on making more fallacious and indefensible arguments, but you will look very silly.

-- Alexander khan (, December 12, 2003.

Trust me: in an intellectual debate, my opinions may differ from those of others; but I never ever look silly.

You asked the question in a discussion forum, thus requesting our opinions. If you've already made up your mind, why did you ask? To rudely shoot people down? I'm going to admit outright that I've only skimmed all of that rather injudicious judgement because, like Elinor, I don't really feel it deserves the compliment of rational opposition, nor my time in providing any. So I may not reply to all you've said.

To assume you know what I think is patronizing, I'm afraid. I am very fond of Branagh's HAMLET (and that is Branagh with one 'n' by the way) because it is the whole extant text, in a quite beautiful production. My favourite Hamlet, however, remains Derek Jacobi.

Call me a sap, but I watch and listen to films when I want to be entertained with beauty, humour, the fantastic, the romantic. If I want an intellectual workout on Shakespeare, I work with the texts. These are two completely different things. Meanwhile, my job is doing a Ph.D. in Italian Renaissance history. Casey and I have both indicated we don't feel equipped to say either way, and haven't given the matter much thought, let alone study; so you can hardly complain that we are arguing against you. I don't know whether Branagh has ripped anyone off or not. Nor do I really care actually; it isn't either my profession or my hobby to find out. I simply like watching his film.

All I was really asking above was, out of a spark of idle interest, for an explanation of exactly what you were talking of, and how you'd arrived at your conclusions. I certainly wasn't making any arguments, fallacious and indefensible or otherwise. You have now provided a little of this information, but more of that and less abuse of us would be interesting to read.

Style I say is elusive because it is much more so than the printed word, or relative pitches and rhythms, in which one can identify similarities or exact reproduction almost instantly with relative ease. Look at all the technology, expertise and time you suggest you and others have put into this: Q.E.D..

In either directing or acting, style has nothing to do with wardrobe or hairstyling - these are merely wrapping to what is a very great package. The package also includes more than merely the way one vocalizes lines, as I've already said. If you cannot speak more intelligently about style than this, I think it has certainly eluded you.

Finally, I might just throw in that, for all I know, Kenneth Branagh, in the course of the hundreds of times he has played Hamlet, may even have been coached in the role by Richard Burton. Having been to vocal coaches myself, I know that in my experience they can encourage one to perform somewhat as they would themselves.

-- catherine england (, December 13, 2003.

Dear Catherine, I have a couple of Ph.Ds myself, I would never have thought you were studying for one. If you trust your reason and intellect, please show your phd tutors these exchanges of discussions. See what they say. Now if you will excuse me from the debate, I have to go and spend more ‘time and expertise’ into research for which you do not care. Good luck.

-- Alexander khan (, December 13, 2003.

Oh well. For the record in any case, in case you come back: I'm told that I'm top of my year. Not that this was relevant to the matter or my points. And if I thought my supervisors had nothing better to do than read my free time discussions, and I showed them, I'm sure they would say, as I do, that anyone with any sort of degree ought to know it is more profitable to attack ideas than the person delivering them; which is beside the fact that to do so is just collegial good manners. As it stands, if this was a 'debate', I have 'won', since you have not responded to any of my points. Now, anyone else think I look silly?

In addition, to obtain a Ph.D., I think one ought to know that "I have to go and spend more ‘time and expertise’ into research for which you do not care" is not grammatically correct, since it uses the wrong preposition for its verb, and that your second comma should be a full stop or a semi-colon, since it is followed by no conjunction.

-- catherine england (, December 13, 2003.

Go, Catherine! I respect your analysis! You know your stuff, girl!

-- Fern Ragan (, March 30, 2004.

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