Saturday, July 28, 2007

What Was I Thinking?

Last fall, I signed up to do another library presentation thing. What was I thinking?

And I agreed to teach a class I really would rather not teach this coming semester. (It's our intro grad research methods class; I've taught it several times, with reasonable success, but I've decided I seriously need to revise it.) What was I thinking?

And I'll be taking a language class.

And teaching a new to me seminar.

What was I thinking?


I got an email this past week about the library presentation, setting up dates and so forth, which reminded me to look at the proposal again, and dang if it's not an exciting proposal! I'd forgotten!

I'm going to show scenes from different film versions of Shakespeare's Henry V, mostly contrasting Olivier's 1944 and Branagh's 1989 versions, with a bit from the BBC version here and there.

We're going to start by looking at the theatricality, metatheatricality, and filmic issues. We'll look at that great "hey, it's London and the theater!" opening of Olivier's, and then the "this is FILM!" opening of Branagh's, and so forth.

So I brought home the department's dvd of Olivier's version. What a treat!

I think doing film stuff is going to be fun for the library crowd, less difficult than reading a full play themselves, but really interesting in thinking historically about the films, and a pleasure to see parts of the films themselves.

There's a moment in Branagh's film that brings me to a full stop. It's after the battle, and Henry's walking through the field. A woman (looks like a French peasant, perhaps) is on the field, and seeing Henry, starts as if to charge him, but is caught and prevented by the French messenger. It's such a little thing, but so beautifully telling.


  1. The music in Branagh's version always gets to me, especially the vocal piece as they are collecting the dead after the main battle. Such an amazing film.

  2. Just finished watching the first season of "Slings and Arrows" on a DVD my sister lent me, and wanted to be sure you knew about this amazing Canadian TV show about a Shakespeare theater group. If you haven't seen it YOU MUST!

    Sounds like you're having a great summer.