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Ok, one more rant about Shakespeare on film. The Merchant of Venice. Trevor Nunn’s film version of his Olivier-awarded production of the play at the National Theatre in 1999. When I watch it, I find it hard to believe it could be done any other way. But it has, and still is. It is indeed a tricky play to put on in the dark shadow of the Holocaust. But this is just…perfect.

But, because there is always a but, towards the end, (act V, scene 1 to be precise) I cringe.

It was all going so well. Jessica and Lorenzo are loved up and it is all sweet moonlight, soft stillness, sweet harmony and yada yada yada. Now in the play, at this point, musicians enter. What does the film do? Play some crap version of the Moonlight Sonata. No, no, no! Surely there must be some law to forbid combining Shakespeare and Beethoven. Emotional overload. Not cool at all. Luhrman does the same thing but at least in Romeo + Juliet they have worked harder to squeeze in Garbage and Everclear than original verse so it goes without the same effect.

Anyway, it is time to put Shakespeare back on the shelf. I have started saying things like “in sooth, I know not”, “by my troth” and “I speak all mirth and no matter”. So far only to myself but that is only because…well, I speak mostly with myself nowadays.

on twitter

  • RT @artinsociety: Albrecht Dürer died #OTD 1528, almost 500 years ago, but his studies of animals and bugs live on ~ here’s his finely-obse… 10 months ago
  • RT @TheSyriaCmpgn: These photos show the devastating conditions Syrian refugees are facing in Lebanon after a brutal storm left their tents… 1 year ago
  • RT @jeremycorbyn: I, Daniel Blake will be shown on TV for the first time, tonight at 9.45pm on BBC 2. It shows the human cost of this Tory… 1 year ago


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mimi harcourt