Hamlet – the music video

Date: 2008
Posted by: larryc56
Cast: Laurence Olivier (Hamlet) and cast of 1948 film
Credits: Edited and performed by Laurence Campling, song by Adam McNaughton
Duration: 4.53

Here’s a classic parody with a YouTube twist. Scottish folksinger Adam McNaughton’s chirpy song ‘Oor Hamlet’ takes us through the main plot points of Hamlet, gently mocking its absurdities until the final pay-off line, “If you think that was boring, you should see the bloody play”. Video editor Laurence Campling plays and sings the song, delivered in a folky style (without the original’s Scottishisms) reminiscent of Martin Carthy (who does in fact include this song in his repertoire), which he has edited to clips from Laurence Olivier’s 1948 film. The earnestness of Olivier’s film cries out for sending up, and the video achieves the clever trick of pleasing both those who have suffered Hamlet in the classrom and those who love their Shakespeare and find that satire only increases that love.

YouTube page
Adam McNaugthon’s lyrics to Oor Hamlet
Adam McNaughton on Wikipedia
Laurence Campling’s website


Date: 2009
Posted by: lavamatic
Cast: not visible
Credits: Made by Jeffrey Weeter
Duration: 5.14

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this, but it’s different and quite hypnotic. The filmmaker (Chicago-based intermedia artist and audio engineer Jeffrey Weeter) has taken sequences from the 1910 Italian silent film Re Lear (King Lear), and then zoomed in on action from the edges of the frame only, so that all you see are feet and the hems of cloaks. The mysterious action is interspersed with titles that read ‘something selfish’, ‘something similar’, ‘something scandalous’ etc., while fitful pieces of music play over the top. It is something rich and strange. Weeter tells us:

“Lear” is a different look. It focuses the information analyzed in the periphery. A narrative unfolds as threads of content are connected and pattern is established. Where there is compression there is also expansion. It is looking at you, vast-expanse-of-art-and-technology-across-history.

Well, I’m not sure that any narrative unfolds at all, still less that compression means expansion. But the sheer elusive of the exercise exerts a real fascination, and it shows how interesting Shakespeare can become in a filmmaker’s hands when they do not feel compelled to tell a story.

Vimeo page
Jeffrey Weeter

Othello/Simpsons Trailer

Date: 2007
Posted by:
Credits: Created by Alireza Alborzi
Cast: The Simpsons
Duration: 1.46

One doesn’t expect to find Shakespeare parodies on an Iranian web TV channel, but that’s where this video resides (specifically on, which is a channel on It’s a mash-up of scenes from assorted episodes of The Simpsons to produce the world’s favourite American family’s interpretation of Othello. Homer is Othello, Marge is Desdemona, Sideshow Bob is Iago – it all just falls into place. The humour is doubled by the portentous trailer commentary, cheekily lifted from the trailer for Oliver Parker’s feature film Othello (as are the closing titles). Silly stuff, but done well.

Links: page

My Dinner with André the Giant

Date: 2007
Posted by: Alex Itin
Credits: Created by Alex Itin
Cast: none
Duration: 2.02

American painter and experimental filmmaker Alex Itin is a member of The Future of the Book, “a small think-and-do tank investigating the evolution of intellectual discourse as it shifts from printed pages to networked screens”. With his starting point the celebrated Wallace Shawn play (and Louis Malle film) My Dinner with André (1981), in which two men debate a wide range of cultural themes over a meal, Itin creates a sampled video by associations. He describes his film thus:

The video is my play on Wallace Shawn and Shakespeare along the way to Orson Welles doing Lear and Mobydick… The drawing of what seems to be Italy with Chinese is from Imagination in The Library. I think he hails from China. The kicked by Sexy Italian Boot Sicily is from my brush wiping page next to the moby ink pot. It’s random, but I thought sort of pretty. It is from the pages of an old book on chess strategy. The Chinese say, “Life is Chess (war); Living is strategy and tactics”.

Also buried within lies the witch from Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (based on Macbeth), alongside Brando in Apocalypse Now, The Third Man, The Kinks, and who knows what else besides (the background pages come from Moby Dick via an earlier Itin video – he recycles his own material as well as that of others). It’s an absurdist delight, with a magnificent title (André the Giant was a wrestler and actor popular in America) and a sublime closing dissolve from camera in the hand to skull in the hand. Sometimes movies should only be like this.

Another Green World (‘remix’ of some of the same footage)
IT IN place
Vimeo page

Me Vs. You

Date: 2006
Posted by: BuddhaRhubarb
Credits: Created by Joe Boyce Burgess, for Blind Hill Pictures
Cast: Emil Jannings (Othello), Ica von Lenkeffy (Desdemona)
Duration: 1.26

A strange, borderline disturbing, mashup of the smothering scene Dimitri Buchowetzki’s 1922 silent film Othello with loops of music from an unnamed ‘garage band’ and sounds from the horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. What is it meant to signify? Perhaps it is best not to think about that too deeply. Its creator, Joe Boyce Burgess, has created other such bizarre juxtapositions of film and alien sound, though only this one with a Shakespearean touch.

YouTube page

Mercutio’s Queen Mab Speech RE-DUBBED

Date: 2008
Posted by: cebergman324
Credits: Created by cebergman324
Cast: prongs2u/Eric Idle (Mercutio/Mr Smoke-Too-Much), Michael Palin (Mr Bounder of Adventure)
Duration: 3.11

A stage production of Romeo and Juliet in which Mercutio’s ‘Queen Mab’ speech (Act 1 Scene 4) is cheekily replaced on the soundtrack by Eric Idle’s obnoxious tourist in the ‘Travel agent/Watney’s Red Barrel’ sketch from Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, a sketch originally performed on the television series Monty Python’s Flying Circus (episode 31, tx. 16 November 1972).

YouTube page

Richard III … with Gnarls Barkley

Date: 2008
Posted by: kjnwcedu
Credits: Created by Keith Jones
Cast: Frederick Warde (Richard III)
Duration: 1.22

Another mashing up of silent Shakespeare with unlikely music by Professor Keith Jones, the man who gave us Julius Caesar with a wassailing song. Here extracts from the 1912 feature film Richard III, starring Frederick Warde, is introduced to Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Feng Shui’. Anything to save it from being done straight with Ennio Morricone…

YouTube page
Keith Jones’ Shakespeare on Film: A Microblog
Richard III on DVD from Kino