A critique of scenery in Branagh's movie version of Much Ado About Nothing.

Essay by cheshire_smileCollege, UndergraduateA, October 2004

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A Greek To Do

In Kenneth Branagh's film adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, scenery, costume, casting and music come together to create a film with a distinct aura of Greek myth.

Much Ado About Nothing is set in Tuscany, Italy. The set is designed to be both isolated and above everything else. The rolling hills provide a gorgeous backdrop for the play with their almost unearthly beauty. The set is very rural, distancing the play from society and many of the institutions which come with it - such as treachery and war. Throughout the course of the play, war is more of an idea than a reality, discussed only in the abstract - note that none of the male characters returning from war are injured, nor do any of them suffer any ill effects from the war. The characters' unfamiliarity with treachery is what makes it so easy for Don John to play them against each other.

Most of the acting is set outside, the sunlight reflecting off the characters providing an almost halo-like effect, emphasizing the characters in an almost godlike way. The house in the film is set on a hill overlooking the road and gardens in a very Olympian style. Everything in the set is very earth-toned, with white walls and wood for the house, and lots of greenery, statues and fountains in the surrounding area, another very Greek aspect.

The majority of the costumes in this film are white, a color with connotations to purity, whimsy and antiquity, all of which tie closely to Greek myth, though in Greek myth purity is something which is played at while in Much Ado About Nothing, it is very much a reality. The cut of the costumes is very long and flowing (at least...