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Compare the treatment of the battle of Agincourt by, respectively, Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh in their films of Shakespeare's Henry V

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Introduction

Compare the treatment of the battle of Agincourt by, respectively, Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh in their films of Shakespeare's Henry V In this essay I will be comparing the treatment of the Battle of Agincourt by, respectively, Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Brannagh in their films of Shakespeare's Henry V. The Olivier version was made in 1945 nearing the end of the Second World War, it was deliberately made to give the British workers, those who had been left at home, and the members of the British army, a boost of moral and a taste of the glory that was in sight. Henry V was a good choice as battle, which, with the correct editing, could easily seem as if the British were fighting a just battle against the evil French. The film was created in a time where colour had been recently introduced into film so Olivier took full advantage of this by using the shiniest of breastplates and the most colourful of clothing on the British soldiers to make them look glorious. ...read more.

Middle

Realism is portrayed as scenes of looting and attacking in gangs against a single other fighter are shown. The scene in which the luggage boys are slaughtered is kept in both versions of the battle and they are directed fairly similarly, however, they are kept for different reasons. In the Olivier version this is showing that the French are treacherous and adds to the idea of the English trying to fight a just, fair battle against the evil French. On the other hand in the Branagh version the treachery of the French is just adding to the overall horror of battle. The King's speeches in the Branagh version are shot at eye level as he stands down with the men showing that he is leading the group from within but at the same time no better as a person than his men. The first factor I am going to discuss is realism contained in each of the films, in the Olivier version the bulk of the film appears rather unrealistic. ...read more.

Conclusion

One of the main objectives of this film is to show the real side of not only this period but of how battles have been and still are. There is no attempt to mislead the viewer in how green the grass of the battlefield is but it shows the battle as it most probably was. The first point is the state of the battlefield, which starts off reasonably muddy but throughout the duration of the battle, gets progressively worse. The mud is churned up by the hooves of the horses and begins to show on the characters, as it would. This compared to when the French walk through the mud in the Olivier version and stay immaculately clean is a vast improvement of material realism. The deaths are also of high detail and the gore is not toned down for viewing purposes, as Branagh wants it all to be seen. Post battle the effects of the fight are evident on the fighters as they look exhausted and their clothes are worn and muddy. Cuts and blood cover their visible skin and their faces have grim expressions of loss and anger. Sam Piercy 10 Gordon ...read more.

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