"Civil war divides the nation" the first caption we see at the onset of this adaptation of
Shakespeare's Richard III sets the tone for scenes to come later in the movie. It starts by focusing on Shakespeare's underlying tone regarding Richard as somewhat an outlandish character to be mocked and amused by. Enter Richard to "stab" Edward in his war room at Tewkesbury in his tank. He then fills Edward full of holes with a gun rather than a sword to start the play on words that Richard is known for throughout the play.
Set in the midst of a Nazi-like Britain during the 1930's, it provides more art deco and imagery than is actually in the text. It uses this as the opening focus to show Richards' ascent to power and his eventual downfall more as the leader of a fascist regime, than someone cunning for the role of King. Here big band jives lay the groundwork to the victory ball of King Edward where we are introduced to many of the characters not seen until much later in the text, Rivers, King Edward, Queen Elizabeth, Duchess of York, young York, etc. Richard then begins his soliloquy, "Now is the winter of our discontent..." He partially addresses the crowd to show support for his newly indoctrinated King and brother and the first half of his speech is received by warm applause at his play on words. The second half is completed at the urinal of the palaces' bathroom partly mumbled to the wall. His focus on his villainous ways addressed to the camera. Then he meets Clarence on his way to the Tower to await his execution. The Richard speaks of the forthcoming death of Clarence and his need to marry the Lady Anne, addressed to the camera.
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... rather than being killed by Richmond.
The director's interpretation of this film focuses more on the use of metaphors in a comic state of humor amongst the villainy in a Hitleresque setting with Richard at the helm of this tyranny. Loncraine uses Shakespeare's play on words to make scenes more memorable, (i.e., trains, spiders, food,). He shows the abuse of power, greed and corruption of Richard with flare. The actual dialogue heard is true to the original text, as nothing was added, it is only severely out of order. Loncraine took an ordinary, simple play and made it into something enjoyable to watch. Although the scenes tend to be out of order and cut, this is still a successful adaptation of Richard III as the overriding theme is developed and enjoyable to watch. Richard is humorous in life as he lies, cheats and steals the throne from anyone in his way.
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