Just finished watching Henry V (1989 version by Branagh) on Blu-Ray.
|Posted: 14 July 2018 at 10:20pm | IP Logged | 4
I first watched this in the early 90s, and I thought it was good back then. Fast forward 20 years, I started watching some of Olivier's version and started digging some of that more classical delivery (and going back to the text). So, I came to this with some scepticism about whether my initial conclusion was right.
But, it won me over all over again. Grainy as hell; not quite as epic as I remember; muddy as ever; but it has a cast to die for and really hits its marks. There can be no better Chorus than Derek Jacobi (though they kind of sliced up the Chorus' intros), Ian Holm literally made me tear up as Fluellen at the end of the battle of Ajincourt, and Branagh and Emma Thompson clearly had a lot of chemistry going on back then for the final scene.
Criticisms? I don't think the film really benefits in isolation from trying to draw in cutbacks to Falstaff and (surprisingly) I feel Robert Stephens was a little miscast. Robert Stephens was, for me, an incredible actor (an absolute fave, in fact), but he just had too much to give to be playing Pistol. And, I felt, was too old for the role. Great with the non-Hollywood teeth though. Great actor, wrong part for that stage of his career.
Also a shout out for the amazing Non Nobis Domine by Patrick Doyle. His score is a little intrusive at times (at least in comparison to the Olivier version, where the text and the delivery solely carries the emotion in the key speeches), but his music comes into a life of its own at the end of the Battle of Agincourt, and it is an amazing moment.
It made me laugh, it made me cry and it made my chest swell at times. Hard to ask for more, really. Maybe a French accent from Schofield? Too much? OK, fair enough. Great film.
Edited to correct a spelling mistake.
Edited by Peter Martin on 15 July 2018 at 6:34am