From the silent days of cinema, Shakespeare's plays have often been adapted to the big screen. At first the results were patchy, then came Laurence Olivier. With Henry V, made to stir patriotic spirit during the Second World War, he perfectly translated Shakespeare from the stage to the screen. He followed Henry V with Hamlet, and both were smash hits. Olivier led the way for directors as diverse as Orson Welles, Kurosawa, Franco Zeffirelli, Roman Polanski, Baz Luhrmann and Kenneth Branagh. The Bard's language has been no barrier, with bold versions of his dramas coming out of Russia, Japan, India and many other countries, not to mention Hollywood's free adaptations in genres as diverse as musicals and science fiction. For the first time in a single documentary, Arena explores the rich, global history of Shakespeare in the cinema, with a treasure trove of film extracts and archival interviews with their creators.
From the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, hosts David Tennant and Catherine Tate are joined by Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Meera Syal, David Suchet, Rufus Wainwright, Tim Minchin, Gregory Porter, Joseph Fiennes, English National Opera, The Royal Ballet and Akala for a very special evening.Together, they mark the life and work of William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of the
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