British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Hamlet

Synopsis
Oscar-winning feature film adaptation of the play directed by and starring Laurence Olivier.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Medium
Film; Video
Technical information
Black-and-white / Sound
Year of release
1948
Duration
153 mins; 13,827 feet

Credits

Director
Laurence Olivier
Producer
Laurence Olivier
Cinematographer
Desmond Dickinson
Writer
William Shakespeare
Screenplay
Alan Dent
Music
William Walton
Costume
Roger Furse
Art Direction
Carmen Dillon
Cast
Laurence OlivierHamlet
Basil SydneyClaudius
Eileen HerlieGertrude
Felix AylmerPolonius
Jean SimmonsOphelia
Anthony QuayleMarcellus
Esmond KnightBarnardo
Harcourt WilliamsPlayer (1)
John LaurieFrancisco
Niall McGinnisCaptain
Norman WoolandHoratio
Patrick TroughtonPlayer King
Peter CushingOsric
Russell ThorndikePriest
Stanley HollowayGravedigger (1)
Terence MorganLaertes
Tony TarverPlayer Queen

Additional Details

Production type
Fiction Films
Historical period
Medieval
Plays
Hamlet
Subjects
Drama; Shakespeare
Keywords
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)
Related items
Great Moments from Hamlet
Hamlet
Hamlet - The Music Video
Royalty Honour ‘Hamlet’ Premiere

Notes

Notes
The following study extracts are available for hire on 16mm film from Filmbank: Hamlet and the ghost - Act I Scenes iv & v (15 min); The closet scene - Act III Scene iv (11 min); the gravedigger’s scene - Act V Scene i (9 min.); the final duel - Act V Scene ii (16 min).

The Folger Shakespeare Library holds a post production script dated 11 May 1948, annotated by Robert Hamilton Ball. The Birmingham Shakespeare Library holds a typescript.

Released on Blu-ray by ITV DVD in November 2009.
General
`The opening, where Olivier pronounces that this is simply ‘the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind’, instantly set up a debate between cinema entertainment and faithfulness to the text’. McKernan & Terris, Walking Shadows: Shakespeare in the National Film and Television Archive (London: BFI, 1994). p.52.
Figures
$3m US Gross (Rosenthal, Daniel. ‘Shakespeare on Screen’).
Awards
Academy Awards 1949 - Best Picture, Best Costume Design (black and white), Best Art Direction (black and white), Best Actor in a Leading Role. HAMLET was the first non-US produced film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.

BAFTA Film Awards 1949 - Best Film.
Reviews
Brenda Cross (ed,), The Film Hamlet: A Record of its Production (London: The Sturn Press, 1948).

Production Company

Name

Rank

Distributor (Hire)

Name

Filmbank Distributors Ltd

Email
info@filmbank.co.uk
Web
http://www.filmbank.co.uk External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7984 5950
Fax
020 7984 5951
Address
Warner House
98 Theobalds Road
London
WC1X 8WB
Notes
The main source in the UK for hire of feature films for non-theatrical presentations. The extensive catalogue includes vintage classics, independent films and big blockbusters. Available on 16mm as well as VHS and DVD. Also provides advice on contractual matters.

Distributor (Sale)

Name

ITV DVD

Web
http://www.itv.com External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7389 8555
Address
48 Leicester Square
London
WC2H 7FB
Notes
From 2006 the brand through which Granada Ventures releases material on DVD
Name

Retail outlets

Record Stats

This record has been viewed 685 times.