Richard Burton's Hamlet Overview:

Richard Burton's Hamlet (1964) was a Drama - Black-and-white Film directed by John Gielgud and Bill Colleran and produced by John Heyman.

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Richard Burton's adoptive father, Philip Burton, had to intervene and help his son with his interpretation of the melancholy Dane, as well as help other cast members who were confused by director John Gielgud's direction (or lack of it). Philip had been estranged from Richard since the younger Burton left his wife and two daughters to hook up with Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Cleopatra. Though the two hadn't spoken since the breakup of Richard's marriage, Taylor called Philip and told him that Richard was struggling under Gielgud's direction. Four years earlier, Philip had stepped in to help director Moss Hart with the direction of the 1960 Broadway musical "Camelot" after Hart had had a heart-attack. Father and son were reconciled, and under Philip's tutelage, Richard Burton ultimately presented a Hamlet that was more of the old Jacobian "Revenger" type (known colloquially as "Belleforest" after an adulterated version of the play dating from the 18th Century) that was the antithesis of the Gielgud-Laurence Olivier German Romantic conception of Hamlet that had dominated the Engli
Director John Gielgud had, of course, played Hamlet years before on stage. Cast opposite him, as Ophelia, was Jessica Tandy, whose husband, Hume Cronyn plays Ophelia's father Polonius in this film.
The film was scheduled to be shown in cinemas for a week and then all copies were to be destroyed. Two prints survived. One was consigned to the BFI archives in London. Another print was found later in Richard Burton's estate after his death, which his widow allowed to be distributed as a DVD.
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