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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • None

Hamlet


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Laurence Olivier
Starring: Laurence Olivier, John Laurie, Esmond Knight, Anthony Quayle, Niall MacGinnis, Harcourt Williams, Patrick Troughton, Tony Tarver, Peter Cushing, Stanley Holloway, Russell Thorndike, Basil Sydney, Eileen Herlie, Norman Woodland, Felix Aylmer, Terence Morgan, Jean Simmons
1948 | 153 Minutes | Licensor: Rank/Carlton

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #82
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: September 19, 2000
Review Date: March 24, 2011

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SYNOPSIS

Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, Sir Laurence Olivier's Hamlet continues to be the most compelling version of Shakespeare's beloved tragedy. Olivier is at his most inspired-both as director and as the melancholy Dane himself-as he breathes new life into the words of one of the world's greatest dramatists. Criterion is proud to present Hamlet in a luminous black-and-white digital transfer.

Forum members rate this film 7.3/10

 

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PICTURE

Laurence Olivierís Hamlet receives a Criterion release with the film presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this dual-layer disc.

For an earlier lower-tier edition it doesnít look too bad, in fact it looks pretty good. The image is surprisingly sharp, presenting some decent details and fine definition. There are a few moments that can go softer but I blame the source more. The source materials are in decent shape and it looks to have received a restoration but there are still a number of flaws including hairs, scratches, and a few blotches that pop up here and there.

Gray levels are strong, and blacks can be very deep when need be. Grain is present but looks like noise most of the time and is probably the weakest aspect of the transfer which otherwise isnít too bad.

7/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track is weak and lifeless, lacking anything in the way of fidelity and presenting dialogue that can come off hollow and hard to hear at times. Thereís a bit of noise in the background and a couple of moments where the audio appears to drop. Weak and in need of a bit more work.

4/10

SUPPLEMENTS

This is a barebones edition with no supplements on the disc. The insert includes a short but decent essay by critic Terrence Rafferty comparing this version of Hamlet to the endless number of other adaptations.

1/10

CLOSING

It can use a revisit but in general it actually looks fairly good. Unfortunately the audio is weak and the lack of features makes it hard to completely justify the price. Worth picking up if you can find it cheap.


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