#041: Henry V

criterion41LAURENCE OLIVIER

1944

A life in the theatre is very difficult, you never make money, you’re always tired, you work late nights and you spend more time wiping off makeup than you do actually achieving the heights of dramatic expression.  In short, it’s the most wonderful life imaginable, and my experiences treading the boards as a glorified amateur were among the happiest years of my life.  I’m reminded of them every time I watch Laurence Olivier’s breakthrough marriage of screen and Shakespeare, in which he address England’s need for inspiration in World War II by reaching for the Bard’s exploration of one of the country’s most important historical figures (and cuts out some of the more inconvenient criticism of him and England).  Beginning as a performed play on film, Olivier eventually pushes through the scenery and actually brings to life a vibrant adaptation of this great drama that still stands among his best accomplishments.

Listen to my episode of the podcast here:  PODCAST

My review of the film on my blog:  REVIEW

NEXT CRITERION: #042 Fishing With John

PREVIOUS CRITERION: #040 Armageddon

Also by Laurence Olivier

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