Comparison of Laurence Olivier's version of "Richard III" to Sir Ian McKellen's version.

Essay by SverriUniversity, Bachelor's March 2005

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Thesis Statement: Laurence Olivier's version of "Richard III" is much closer to the original Shakespeare play than Sir Ian McKellen's version.


1. Introduction

2. Comparing the Movies

3. Richard vs. Richard: Differences and Similarities in Acting Richard

4. Conclusion

1. Introduction:

Laurence Olivier's version of "Richard III" was released in 1955 with Olivier in the title role. It is set in the late 15th century. In contrast to this Sir Ian McKellen's "Richard III" was released 1995 and is set in the 30's of the 20th century.

The function of Act 2 in the original play is to show how Richard intrigues (and just as well acts) his way to the throne and finds his first accomplices. At the end of Act 2 he has overcome his biggest obstacles: his brothers Clarence and Edward are both dead and Edward's sons will not keep Richard from the throne.

2. Comparing the Movies:

Laurence Olivier's "Richard III" is the more classical version. It is (as the original) set at the end of the 15th century and in royal premises. Scenes which are set outside represent normal early modern times' life. The clothing also represents 15th century royalty and noblemen.

Olivier's version is text-wise close to the original text, even though some lines have been left out.

In spite of this the plot is tightly bound to Shakespeare's original text and most of the lines that are important for the ongoing of the play have been taken over. It seems as though no lines have been swapped to other places. Even though, one scene has totally been deleted. Scene 3 in Act 2 is shown neither in Olivier's nor in McKellen's movie.

In Act 2, Scene 1 only very few lines are...