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Compare and Contrast the Film Versions Of Henry V

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MEDIA ASSIGNMENT; COMPARE AND CONTRAST THE FILM VERSIONS OF HENRY V In this essay y, I am going to compare and contrast the two moving image media versions of Henry V, by William Shakespeare. One is by Lawrence Olivier and the other by Kenneth Branagh. The Olivier version was produced in 1944 and the Branagh version in 1989. These are unusual because both of the directors starred as the title role, Henry in their films as well as producing them. In this, I am going to analyse the acting, lighting, costumes, setting, and sound effects. They have many differences but the similarities are constant. In the Branagh version the acting is very reserved but much more realistic. The actors have made it seem like you are there unlike the Olivier version where the have a lot of over exaggeration. The actors in the Olivier version do this because of the setting and the costumes. It is not meant to be set in the exact location where it would have happened. They are trying to show it, as it would have been done in Shakespeare's day. They have a lot of movement with slapstick comedy from the archbishop's assistant dropping the papers that his master needs. ...read more.


In the start where the bishops speak to each other they are on a balcony above the main stage, it is quite dark up there and is the only real use of lighting. There are very few scene changes, but when there is a person with a large board comes on and on it, they have the next place that the play will be in. There is just daylight in the Olivier version and nothing else. This is much different to the Branagh version where it is set in the English court at the time it happened. It is very dark when it starts with the bishops, the only light is one flickering candle, and it just highlights their features. This combined with a low speech volume proves to make this first scene very spooky and eerie. In the next scene, Henry makes his grand entrance. You see his silhouette back lit by bright lights, but framed by a huge doorway with giant flaming torches either side. This makes for a grand and impressive spectacle. When he enters, the setting is him sitting on a throne with his lords in two rows down from him. This has him in power over all of them. He is also higher up than them bringing a larger sense of power to him. ...read more.


This is good because they are meant to be plotting and scheming. The next scene when Henry enters has him silhouetted and framed by a huge door with two flaming candelabras, there is a spooky mist behind him to. This is very spectacular and works well to create a respect for the king. The sound in the Olivier version is how it would have been in Shakespeare's time, a small band with strings and brass instruments. They music is very regal and what would have been played in the real English court at the time. There is the audience who clap, laugh, and jeer. The next scene where the king enters has a large fanfare and drum roll. The music in the Branagh version is very spooky and builds up suspense and the king enters. There are mainly violins and other strings. I think they are both very good movies, they are very different but many things are similar. I think the Branagh version is better because it is more realistic, the acting is better and the style its is in. I like the way they have done it set where it would have happened and the acting is very good. They have the lighting, costumes and setting just right. The only criticism I have is the sound I thought could have been better. ...read more.

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