Showing posts with label Olivier. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Olivier. Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Comparing Greatness

So I was thinking lately how different people are inspired and motivated in different ways. For me, I've always found inspiration, fascination, and enjoyment from movies. In fact, I'm pretty sure from the age of 10 to about 18 all I really did was watch TV and movies. As I got older I managed to learn how to do other interesting things as well, so don't worry, I'm not a couch potato. 

However, there are times when I remember certain movies I've watch and just how much they affected me. It's also interesting to compare movies that deal with the same subject matter, or that are based on the same source material. One of my favorite examples is Henry V, by Shakespeare. By far my favorite play from the old bard, this play has been made into a movie many times. The two most notable are Laurence Olivier's 1944 version, and Kenneth Branagh's 1989 version. 

The Olivier version:

The Branagh version:

Now Olivier has the reputation of being one of the world's greatest actors of all time; Kenneth Branagh is less well know. However in my mind there's no doubt or debate that the Branagh version is so incredibly inspirational and emotionally powerful, it stands above Olivier's version, or any other version by about a thousand miles. 

I had a Shakespeare class in college where we viewed these exact versions. I remember being thoroughly bored and falling asleep while watching the Olivier version. When we watched Branagh's version, I was riveted to my seat, completely mesmerized. 

It's fair to note that in 1944, Olivier was making a movie that tried to rouse war weary Englanders to keep fighting the Nazis. The Branagh version tried to illustrate the horrors and torment of war. Regardless of the actors and directors' motivations, on a purely inspirational level, Kenneth Branagh brought it to a new level; one that I doubt could ever be matched.

Unlike a lot of other Shakespearean speeches, this one is pretty much in plain English and is easily understood. 

But what do you think? Two great actors delivering basically the exact same speech. Are you inspired, motivated, roused? Which, if either, makes the greater impact?

You see, inspiration can and does come from many places. Seeing things from different perspectives can fundamentally change the way you feel about a subject. That's why keeping an open mind is so important. Heck, every time Branagh finished his speech I want to get up and fight right along side him.

Do you?

Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are welcome. 

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