Movies From the Hat IV #21 – Becky’s Pick – Richard III (1955)


This is my 2480th Review

Thanks to Becky of Film Music Central for this recommendation.


richard “Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass; that I may see my shadow as I pass. ” – Richard III

Number of Times Seen –  1 (5 Sep 2016)

Brief Synopsis – A prince tries to think of a way of usurping his brother from the throne in order to rule England.

My Take on it – I have never been much of a fan of Shakespeare in print but have grown over the years to appreciate movie adaptations of The Bard’s work.

In general I have been a fan of Kenneth Branagh’s adaptations more than anyone elses including those of Sir Lawrence Olivier which this movie is part of the three screen adaptations that he directed.

Unfortunately, I found most of this to be quite long, boring and tedious probably largely due to the fact that I had to really pay attention to understand the Shakespearean language.

I must say that there were some aspects of this film that I did like.

Firstly, I was impressed with Olivier’s performance as the title character and give him a lot of credit for being willing to play such a villain who is the lead character on screen.  It says a lot about Olivier that he chose to make this film at that time and sill want to play the lead.

The other thing that I liked and which came to mind often while watching this was the fact that this film reminded me so much of Game of Thrones by the backstabbing and clever plots against one another continuing throughout the entire film.

I wonder if George R.R. Martin used this as part of his basis for his original ideas for the book.

All in all, this was an ok film, not bad, but also not great IMHO.

That being said, if Kenneth Branagh makes a version of this, I’ll definitely see it.
Bottom Line – Being that I’m generally not much of a fan of most Shakespearean adaptations, I found most of this a bit too tedious and long. I liked the fact that the main character is a villain which adds more to the fact that Olivier chose to make this movie and play the title role. Really enjoyed how parts felt like Game of Thrones which makes me wonder if Martin used themes from here as part of his original ideas.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The failure of the film to earn a profit in the U.S. during its theatrical release, together with the untimely death of Alexander Korda , who had backed the production of Richard III (1955), effectively ended Olivier’s dream of filming Shakespeare as a director. He is accorded the honor of being the greatest Macbeth of the 20th century, but he could never raise the financing to make the film after the financial failure of this film. Michael Todd expressed interest in financing an Olivier version of “Macbeth”, but Todd was killed in a plane crash before those ideas could come to fruition. Olivier never again directed a Shakespearean film, possibly the result of the fabled actors’ curse attached to “The Scottish Play”.  (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy

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6 thoughts on “Movies From the Hat IV #21 – Becky’s Pick – Richard III (1955)

  1. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1956 |

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1955 | MovieRob

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