Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Director to Adapt Each of Shakespeare's Plays #21 -- MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING directed by Milos Forman

The Plot:

The soldiers have just come home from battle and are looking for love. Well, except for Benedick, who would rather make jokes about how absurd the whole prospect of marriage is. He is particularly fond of trading barbs with Beatrice who is every bit his match and then some. Their friends know repressed sexuality when they see it, so they trick the duo into falling in love with each other. All seems to be going well until Don John, the Bastard (this time in both senses of the word) tricks Claudio into thinking his bride is unfaithful. After that, there’s a whole lot of ado and strangely enough, in the end, it turns out it was really all about nothing.

Why Forman?

Much Ado is another Shakespeare play that successfully navigates a wide range of moods with ease. It’s a comedy that is actually still quite funny to a modern audience, but it also has moments of heart-wrenching drama, particularly when Claudio lays into the completely innocent Hero on her wedding day. Apart from a couple of curious casting choices and the amusement at seeing some heavily tanned Brits, I don’t have many problems with the Branagh version. He ably handles Shakespeare’s massive mood shifts and delivers a production that is a rare kind of funny – ‘sexy funny’. It’s probably far too soon to remake this play again, but if someone was going to do it, I think Forman’s a darn good choice. His Amadeus reimagined Shaffer’s play for the screen and did not allow the humor to be lost beneath all the ornate clothing and powdered wigs. His Valmont was released shortly after Dangerous Liaisons, despite drawing inspiration from the same story, and managed to (at the very least) match its predecessor with flawless casting and increased sexual tension between the two leads. From his early Czech films of the 60's, Forman has proven himself throughout his career to be a director with the ability to balance joy and laughter with sadness and reflection. His comedies are frequently more touching and thoughtful than most people’s dramas. I have the utmost confidence that a Forman Much Ado would be at least on a par with Branagh’s take and might even exceed it.

Forman films I have seen:

1. Amadeus ****
2. The Firemen's Ball ****
3. The Loves of a Blonde ****
4. Valmont ***1/2
5. The People vs. Larry Flynt ***1/2
6. Hair ***1/2
7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest ***
8. Man on the Moon **


Post a Comment

<< Home