In the opening sequence of this production the whole line of the film is boldly laid down. Hamlet gallops across the sands towards Elsinore, and into the great sombre castle; Claudius’ rule is proclaimed in the crowded courtyard; the drawbridge is slowly pulled up, shutting the castle in on itself. Where Kozintsev scores, consistently and impressively is through the elements outlined in the film’s vigorous introduction; the way he involves the onlookers of Elsinore in the action, and the way he uses the castle and the court to create a feeling of encirclement by iron, stone and the watchful eye of the courtiers. The emphasis is on speed, clarity, the flow of visual action. It cuts a firm, slashing line through the play.
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