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Old May 13 2012, 06:00 PM   #595
stj
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Re: Movies Seen in 2012

Recently saw Anonymous. I remember people waxing wroth about the slander to Shakespeare but the Jacobi frame explicitly claims mere possibility. Taking this literally, the movie is still absurd. But the scene where "Shakespeare" comes off the stage of the Globe and is passed over the heads of the rapturous audience (is the phrase "mosh pit ?)makes it very plain that the makers do not intende this to be taken so solemnly.

That said, the real insult to the intelligence is the notion that Queen Elizabeth I could get away with multiple pregnancies and deliveries. The Tudors were tyrants but they still had enough enemies that such a thing would have been impossible. Also, cowardice, whtether physical fear of dying in childbed or moral fear of being exposed to a new husband as unchaste, could have explained very believably why Elizabeth remained unmarried and very limited in her sexual experience.

Emmerich's direct created at least one scene, the Globe theatre production of Henry V's St. Crispin day speech which is a wonderfully exciting, bravura rush. The notion that the hunchback in Richard III would be read as an attack on the younger Cecil is also perceptive. But for the record, it was Richard II, not Richard III, that Essex wanted produced as propaganda for his attempted coup. Richard II of course has a deposition of the king.

But the notion that "Shakespeare" was somehow a supporter of Essex at that point is absurd. The best explanation for how Shakespeare and the rest of the players escaped any consequences for propagandizing
for Essex is that Shakespeare et al. informed on Essex to the authorities. Much of the elaborate plot in Anonymous seems to be aimed at keep Shakespeare free of any nasty political taints like this.

Richard III was produced early in Shakespeare's and Essex's careers and may well have been aimed at Burleigh. Charles Nichol's The Reckoning, about the murder of Marlowe, offers evidence that Essex' people had a hand (a point Nichol himself doesn't follow up on, but then, Nichol didn't like Marlowe.)

There are also the apparently inevitable gross stupidities endemic to all Emmerich productions, along with the clever bits. My favorite is the nonsense about writing a play all in verse. If anything Shakespeare was more innovative in introducing prose. But the idea that Ben Jonson was what we might think of as a nice guy is a close second.

There is actually room for another fictional Shakespeare biopic, though I would hope it would eschew a cockamamie plot twisted around so that there could be a tragic "Shakespearean" ending. Especially since incest is not nearly as Shakespearean as a bunch of dead bodies. Really, I don't quite understand why Orloff and Emmerich didn't finish with Oxford, Elizabeth, Burleigh and Jonson all dead. Then we could have had an epitaph by Shakespeare's natural son, Davenant!
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Last edited by stj; May 13 2012 at 06:13 PM.
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