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Shakespearean Star
Laurence Olivier and National Cinema

  • Date Published: July 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107181113


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About the Authors
  • Laurence Olivier was one of the best-known and most pioneering actor-directors of Shakespeare on screen. This is the first study to provide a comprehensive analysis of Olivier's Shakespearean feature films and his unique Shakespearean star image. Through an examination of Olivier's unmade film Macbeth, as well as his adaptations of Shakespeare's Henry V, Hamlet and Richard III, Jennifer Barnes offers a detailed exploration of Olivier's entire cinematic Shakespearean oeuvre in relation to his distinctive form of stardom. Considering the development of Olivier's image in relation to the industrial and cultural contexts of the wartime and post-war British film and theatre industries, the volume also analyses Olivier's life writing and published autobiographies and is supplemented by numerous illustrations.

    • The first book to offer a chronological analysis of Olivier's films in relation to industrial, cultural and autobiographical contexts
    • Provides an in-depth examination of Olivier's unmade film Macbeth, as well as his adaptations of Shakespeare's Henry V, Hamlet and Richard lll
    • Numerous illustrations supplement the text
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'I found Jennifer Barnes' extraordinary perceptiveness and analysis profoundly moving, knowing my father's works as I do … my main reaction is that I have yet to read a book which has taught me so much about him'. Tarquin Olivier

    'Elements of each film are analysed in the course of the book, but the productions are treated not as freestanding texts in themselves but as texts alongside others that support the argument concerning Olivier's achievement of representative 'national' status. Barnes traces the development of this in his theatrical and personal career to good effect, with reference to the actor's papers, held in the British Library, as well as to press reports and other sources.' Russell Jackson, Shakespeare Survey

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107181113
    • length: 226 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Henry V (1944)
    2. Hamlet (1948)
    3. Richard III (1955)
    4. Macbeth I (1955–60): contexts
    5. Macbeth II (2012-): legacy

  • Author

    Jennifer Barnes, University of Dundee
    Jennifer Barnes is Lecturer in English and Film Studies at the University of Dundee, where she teaches early modern theatre and cinematic Shakespeare. She lectured in English and Film Studies at the University of Exeter before moving to Dundee in 2014. Prior to this she worked for the Bristol Old Vic. Shakespearean Star: Laurence Olivier and National Cinema is her first book.

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