Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Richard III 1995 Film

Image link for Hitler giving a speech:

While my general knowledge of most Shakespeare plays is limited, I had the pleasure to read Richard III in high school as well as watch Richard III (1995). In this film, Richard III is set in a civil war in 1930s England. What I found particularly striking about the film is the significance of the time period that it is set in. The 1930's are the time period during which the Nazis came to power in Germany, and Mussolini had been in charge of Fascist Italy for nearly ten years by this time period. This influence of the time period can be seen within the film where there are notably Nazi-like elements within the scenes while at the same time retaining British characteristics so that there is no doubt as to the setting of the film. The conscious effort to continue to have the film set in Britain in my opinion reflects both a desire to stick with Shakespeare's original setting for the play and a warning that totalitarian regimes are capable of occurring anywhere given the right circumstances. I believe that they decided to set the film during this time period in order to make it more accessible to people's understanding of totalitarian regimes, since a large majority of people have an understanding of Nazi Germany, and thus gain a better understanding of Richard III.

I also attached a photo of Hitler giving a speech so that you can look at the resemblances between the two pictures for yourself. Their striking resemblance of each other involves a mirroring of uniform, positioning, posture, and body language. While this is not in the picture I attached of Hitler, usually there would be a grand show of flags and other national symbols during his speeches which would parallel the grandiose flag seen behind Richard in the picture I attached. These symbols, usually accompanied by nationalistic speeches, are meant to intensify national passions and loyalty. Both involve a highly orchestrated power show designed to impress and inspire fear.  

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