Richard III (1955)

A fun, lively adaptation of “Richard III”.

Apparently Olivier’s delivering of the soliloquies directly to the camera (and thus the audience) was fairly novel at the time, but it feels completely natural now. His performance really is a lot of fun, and the film pretty much excises any element not very closely tied to the man himself, so it’s all very centred on his performance.

The colours are gorgeous, so vibrant, real Technicolor greatness. I also really liked how in act five, the film completely changed setting for the Battle of Bosworth Field, with the characters suddenly off soundstages and on some field in Spain. The battle felt extra impactful, like a resounding crash of reality for Richard III, the relative “safety” of his courtly manoeuvring gone when in actual battle again. Not sure how intended that was, but it certainly had that effect on me.

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Definitely an enjoyable adaptation. I give it three suns, and a crown.

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