Watch The Fifteen Minute Hamlet
- 21 min
The Fifteen Minute Hamlet is a comedic film adaptation that parodies William Shakespeare's tragic masterpiece, Hamlet. This 1995 movie stars Austin Pendleton, Ernest Perry Jr., and a young Philip Seymour Hoffman, featuring clever writing, witty jokes, and excellent performances from the cast. The film revolves around a theater troupe that rehearses a play entitled "The Fifteen Minute Hamlet" before performing it in front of a live audience. The play is a condensed version of the original Hamlet, with all the major scenes and characters compressed into 15 minutes. The play within the movie is a hilarious spoof of the bard's classic, and the film itself is a perfect mix of slapstick comedy, satire, and Shakespearean language. The movie opens with a backstage scene where the actors are preparing for the performance. Director Jack (Austin Pendleton) is the central figure, assigning roles and rehearsing his actors to perfection. Jack is an eccentric and slightly unstable director who becomes very passionate about his show. He has a tendency to confuse the actors and mix up their lines with his own scripts, making rehearsals all the more chaotic. The cast is made up of a group of comical actors, most notably Ernest Perry Jr. as Horatio and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Bernardo. Perry and Hoffman deliver hilarious performances, with Perry playing the straight-man and setting up Hoffman's perfectly-timed zingers. Meanwhile, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, played by Michael Maloney and Michael Marcus, provide comic relief with their witty wordplay and physical humor. Other cast members include Mary Lou Rosato as Marcellus, and Lili Taylor as Ophelia. The film switches back and forth between rehearsals and actual performance, showcasing the hilarious backstage antics of the cast as well as their funny interpretations of the Shakespearean characters. The performances themselves are equally entertaining, with the fast-paced staging and delivery of the dialogue keeping the audience's attention. The pacing of the film is brilliant, with each scene and joke delivered with perfect timing. The humor ranges from slapstick gags to clever wordplay, making it a treat for both Shakespeare enthusiasts and casual movie-goers. Director Pendleton makes excellent use of props and costumes to create an authentic Elizabethan atmosphere while simultaneously poking fun at the stodgy and overly serious way that Shakespearean plays are sometimes performed. The movie's soundtrack also deserves special mention, as it combines traditional Elizabethan music with modern arrangements, providing a perfect backdrop for the onscreen shenanigans. The costumes and set design, though minimalistic, also contribute to the film's overall charm, with simple backdrops and props allowing the actors to steal the show. In summary, The Fifteen Minute Hamlet is a delightfully witty and whimsical film that seamlessly blends the traditions of Shakespeare with modern sensibilities. The direction, performances, and writing make this movie a memorable and entertaining experience, and it is a must-see for any fan of Shakespeare, theater, or comedy.