Monday, September 12, 2005

A Director to Adapt Each of Shakespeare's Plays #11 -- HENRY VIII directed by Ang Lee

The Plot:

Henry VIII is married to Katherine, but attracted to Anne. The Catholic church is not really thrilled with the idea of granted a divorce. What’s a man to do? Fortunately for Henry, he’s the king. Heck, he could whip up a whole new religion if he wanted to. So Katherine gets a . . . er . . . demotion and Anne takes her place in Henry’s bed. While she is unable to produce a male heir, she does give birth to Elizabeth, who apparently turned out very nicely indeed.

Why Lee?

This is another tough one, but for very different reasons. There’s just not a whole lot of personality to this play that seems to be written primarily to kiss up to King James I. There has been some dispute as to whether or not Shakespeare collaborated on this play with another writer, which is scholar-ese for "Gosh, this isn’t very good at all." It’s easy to see why this one isn’t produced very much, especially since A Man for All Seasons does such a bang-up job with the same subject matter. With Ang Lee, there’s a pretty good chance that the finished product is going to be solid with good performances, attractive visuals and pacing that leaves room for reflection. Of the Lee films that I have seen, The Ice Storm is particularly memorable to me in the way that it exposed the dissatisfaction that can infect average families. Henry VIII is about dissatisfaction within a family that is anything but average. Perhaps Lee's sensitivity to the subtleties of human relationships combined with his costume drama experience would make for a decent film.

Lee films I have seen:

1. The Ice Storm ***1/2
2. Sense and Sensibility ***1/2
3. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon **1/2


Post a Comment

<< Home