The real winter of our discontent

My previous post put me in mind to search YouTube for this: Laurence Olivier delivering the opening soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Richard III:

Good job, YouTube!

Because this is my blog and not yours, here’s the actual soliloquy, which ain’t quite the same:

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that lowered upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
Our bruisèd arms hung up for monuments,
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front,
And now, instead of mounting barbèd steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamped, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling Nature,
Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them–
Why I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to see my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity.
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determinèd to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunk prophecies, libels, and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other;
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mewed up
About a prophecy which says that G
Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul — here Clarence comes!

Wikipedia tells me something I didn’t know: the U.S. release of the film occurred simultaneously in theaters and on TV in 1956:

The release was unique in that the film had its US premiere on the same day both on television and in cinemas, the first instance of this ever being done. It was not shown during prime time, but rather in the afternoon, so prime time ratings for that day were not affected by any pre-emptions for a special program. It is quite likely that it was the first three-hour telecast of a film or a Shakespeare play ever to be shown.

It says that between 25 and 40 million people saw the film on TV.  Which makes me think that more people saw this film than any other production of any Shakespeare play ever.

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