Hamlet: David Jacobi. Gertrude: Claire Bloom…

Derek Jacobi brings a powerfully emotional personality to the title role in this vintage interpretation of the infamous tragic drama of all time. Claire Bloom as Gertrude is so beautifully elegant and royal and hugely sensitive. Eric Porter’s cunning Polonius is also outstanding.


Hamlet : Derek Jacobi

Gertrude : Claire Bloom
Claudius : Patrick Stewart
Polonius : Eric Porter
Ophelia : Lalla Ward
Horatio : Robert Swann
Laertes : David Robb
Ghost : Patrick Allen
Rosencrantz : Jonathan Hyde
Guildenstern : Geoffrey Bateman
Osric : Peter Gale
Player King : Emrys James
Player Queen : Jason Kemp
3rd Player : Geoffrey Beevers
Fortinbras : Ian Charleson
Gravedigger : Tim Wylton
Marcellus : Paul Humpoletz
Bernardo : Niall Padden
Francisco : Christopher Baines
Voltimand : John Humphrey
Cornelius : John Sterland

I haven’t watched the full 1980 BBC vIntage play as yet, but the little bit I’ve thus seen, tells me, how drastically different it is to the cinematic film version, starring Kevin Branagh as Hamlet and David Jacobi as stepfather, Claudius. I thought at first the former was going to be a bit of an anti-climax, given the Hollywood status of the latter. For example (the three and a half hour stage play, which includes some the most fantastic, well renowned Shakespearian actors of the last couple of decades), the setting and props are very traditional and sparse, in comparison to the mind-blowingly all-out, real-life palatial royal residence of Branagh’s blockbuster film – preferring instead to concentrate on the powerful poetic words of the genius playwright. The mind has only to deal with the drama and not externals that would otherwise interfere with the brilliance of the acting and message.

To be recommended for study purposes…as it speaks for itself. Incidentally – David Jabobi, is brilliant as Hamlet in this play and as Cladius in Kenneth Branagh’s one.

I was in Elsinore, Denmark, as a very young teenager – after leaving Switzerland, so would definitely see the 1913 ghost film set of Hamlet as the most apt one. I know that Branagh cleverly set the play in a later time and the opulence, etc., really worked for me as  a newcomer to Hamlet – I can differentiate between both of them.

SHAKESPEARE, William – Hamlet

Hamlet: butterfliesanswheels.org


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