Henry V at the Globe Theater

In this brilliantly-colored film Olivier opened his distinguished series of cinematic Shakespeare achievements. It was intended to reinforce British nationalism at the time of the Normandy invasion, being dedicated in 1944 to the ‘Commandos and Airborne Troops of Great Britain the spirit of whose ancestors it has been humbly attempted to recapture." It is noteworthy not only for Olivier’s evocation of the original Globe Theatre of Shakespeare’s day, but for its ingenious oscillation between such theatrical moments and the realism of the French cavalry charge at Agincourt, to which Olivier also adds the style of medieval miniature painting of the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry in its court scenes, such as those involving the French Princess Catherine. Appropriately Olivier manages equally diverse rhetorical styles, from court diplomacy to battlefield flamboyance to amatory teasing.

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20th century


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