1403: Henry IV finds himself facing uprisings from the Welsh chieftain Owen Glendower and impetuous young Harry "Hotspur" Percy, son of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, angry with the ...
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1403: Henry IV finds himself facing uprisings from the Welsh chieftain Owen Glendower and impetuous young Harry "Hotspur" Percy, son of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, angry with the king for not paying Glendower ransom for his brother-in-law Mortimer. Another trial for Henry is the fact that his son, Prince Hal, keeps company with the older, reprobate drunkard Sir John Falstaff. Though the prince is his friend he is not above playing cruel jests on Falstaff, robbing him in disguise and returning his money after Falstaff has given an exaggerated account of his bravery in the hold-up. However, Hal joins his father at the wintry battle of Shrewsbury to put down Hotspur's revolt, where Hal kills Hotspur in single combat - Falstaff later claiming credit for the deed. Hotspur is routed but Henry and Hal still have to face the uprisings of Glendower and Nortumberland, now joined by the archbishop of York.Written by
The scene where Hal and Falstaff take turns pretending to be the king to amuse themselves and the patrons of the tavern is one of the most famous in the play. It doesn't demand that the actor playing Hal tries to sound like the actor playing his father, but it is arguably funnier if he does. Tom Hiddleston, who is known to enjoy making of impressions of fellow actors, revealed in an interview that ahead of filming, Jeremy Irons had recorded himself doing the speech that Hal makes pretending to be his father in the tavern, to help Hiddleston practice his impression of the king. See more »
Good adaptation, but not the best of the Shakespeare histories
HENRY IV PART 1 is the second of the Shakespeare histories released under the BBC's HOLLOW CROWN banner, following on from the excellent RICHARD II. This one offers similar quality, in terms of strong production values and decent performances, except that they're slightly wasted on what turns out to be one of the Bard's weaker plays.
The problem with HENRY IV PART 1 is that I just didn't care too much about any of the central characters. Jeremy Irons is Henry IV, but he has little screen time and he's given little to do other than look weary and loaded with angst. Tom Hiddleston steals the limelight as the youthful Prince Hal, in a performance brimming with energy and vitality, and there's a wide-ranging cast of familiar faces such as Julie Waters in the comedy role.
Sadly, my feelings about the production didn't change as it went on, and much of the shenanigans left me feeling cold. One such character is Falstaff, who I felt was a rotund drunk and nothing more than that. I know there are extra layers of character and meaning to be found but the character was so repellent that I just didn't care.
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