©2008 Saland Publishing; (P)2008 Saland Publishing
This recording does not work as an audiobook. It is taken from the soundtrack of the film, though with some strange edits. The text is substantially cut, reordered, new material is brought in from Henry VI and sometimes newly composed. While that may be justifiable for a film it certainly does not work here. There are also long passages of incidental music with no text, accompanying action on the screen, that are worse than useless for an audiobook. The acting is of course excellent but the sound quality fairly poor.
Frankly it is misleading to offer this as an audio recording of Richard III as the text is so mangled and it was never produced for audio purposes. Get the outstanding Naxos recording with Kenneth Branagh instead.
The text has been cut and reorganized so that it is barely recognizable. Don't buy this if you a studying the text
This is the soundtrack to the 1964 version released for a few days to cinemas. Lady Burton allowed this recording to be made; just a few years ago the film itself was licensed and released. Contemporary with the stage performance, however, was an uncut audio performance of the complete play which I enjoyed much as a young man. (It included, for example, the scene with Fortinbras's army, cut here.) Frankly, that's what I was hoping this was. but it's not. The performance is cut, as all stage versions must be. It's more "dramatic" (i.e., louder) than the audio version as I recall itand less subtle.
Still, don't hesitate to purchase this release. Burton's is a very great Hamlet, one that must be seen/heard. If you've got the video, as I do, you have this performance already. If you don't, it's merely a choice of format (though the video version isn't particularly interesting visually). It's a full-blooded, visceral performance, recommended heartily.
It was too difficult for me to follow the plot as a dramatization. Perhaps if I already knew the story.
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