Tag Archives: Twelfth Night

My 5(ish) favorite film versions of Shakespeare’s plays [Shakespeare Week]

 Shakespeare’s 450th birthday is this week, so I’m sharing some of my favorite Shakespeare-related things.

Today I’d like to share several of my favorite filmed versions of the plays (later I’ll share my favorites inspired by the plays). I’m counting these as five, even though technically I’ve included eight movies (see #3). These are not necessarily ranked in order. These made the list because they are my “go to” films, and to say one is better than the others would have been next to impossible.

1. Much Ado About Nothing (Directed by Kenneth Branagh)

I’ve loved this version since it came out. I’ve been a fan of Emma Thompson for years and I love her as Beatrice. This was the first film I ever saw Kate Beckinsale in.

Much Ado About Nothing (1993) Trailer – YouTube

2. Much Ado About Nothing (Directed by Joss Whedon)

It’s directed by Joss Whedon, what more do I need to say? Okay, it’s full of Wedonverse alums as well. I don’t think I need to say any more than that.

Much Ado About Nothing Official Trailer #1 (2013) – Joss Whedon Movie HD – YouTube

3. The Hollow Crown: Richard II, Henry IV Part I, Henry IV Part II and Henry V

I’m counting these four as one since I can’t really pick a favorite from among them. I hadn’t seen any performance of three of these before the BBC made this series. I had only seen Branagh’s Henry V. These are gorgeous productions, and have great casts (Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, and Michelle Dockery among others).

The Hollow Crown, Trailer | Great Performances | PBS – YouTube

4. A Midsummer Night’s Dream

If you watch this one for no other reason (though there are plenty), watch it for Kevin Kline’s portrayal of Bottom.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream 1999 Trailer YouTube – YouTube

5. Twelfth Night

This is one of my favorite plays, and this film continues to stand as my favorite version.

Trailer: Twelfth Night or what you will – YouTube

What are your favorites? Do you prefer Hamlet, whether Branagh’s version or Mel Gibson’s? Perhaps Olivier’s various Shakespearean films? Let me know in the comments.

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A Twelfth Night sequel? Hmmm…

Olivia, Maria and Malvolio from "Twelfth Night," Act III, Scene iv by Johann Heinrich Ramberg [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Detail from “Olivia, Maria and Malvolio from ‘Twelfth Night,’ Act III, Scene iv” by Johann Heinrich Ramberg [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This sounds interesting. Too bad I’m not near enough to watch this play because I’d really like to see if the story works.

Set 20 years after the events of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, The Malvolio Project, written by playwright-in-residence Betty Shamieh, focuses on the eponymous former steward on whom the characters of the original Shakespeare played a cruel jape.

Although Malvolio swore revenge at the end of the original play and remains bitter toward those who deceived him, he rises through the ranks of the Illyrian army to become a general and a war hero.Now that he has made a name for himself, he plans to enact his revenge. A surprise, however, comes in the form of Volina, the daughter of Duke Orsino and Duchess Viola who falls madly in love with him after she joins the army in her mother’s disguise dressed as a boy.

Still bitter about the prank pulled on him many years before, Malvolio thinks she is mocking him. Hilarity ensues in the form of mistaken identity, cross-dressing, and a surprise twist at the end that is all reminiscent of true Shakespeare writing.

I think it’s unusual to see a sequel of a Shakespeare play, rather than a retelling. (At least I can’t think of any. Are there more out there and I’m just missing them?) I’m definitely intrigued and I hope it does well.

via Malvolio Project puts new spin on Shakespeare | The Denisonian.