Houston in Love: Shakespeare's Best on Screen

For more than 35 years, the University of Houston has taken on the Bard in Houston's own version of Shakespeare in the Park. This year's Houston Shakespeare Festival will bring to life two of the playwright's most famous works, "Othello" and "The Taming of the Shrew." HSF productions are always free, which makes them accessible to a larger audience, something Shakespeare himself would have been proud of.

It's always a wonder to us that even 395 years after his death, Shakespeare's work is still being produced quite regularly; the guy is that good. William's writing hasn't been restricted to live theater either. There are at least 420 film and television versions of his plays that have been produced over the years.

Feeling overwhelmed by whether to rent Gnomeo and Juliet or Romeo Must Die? Art Attack has done the work for you and put together a list of some noteworthy film adaptations of the Bard's best.

A Midsummer Night's Dream
Do you remember the Disney Shorts? They were often aired prior to Disney theatrical releases, sometimes based on famous pieces of literature or simply related to the movie they preceded. In 1999, Micky and the gang took on one of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies, A Midsummer Night's Dream. While it is bizarre and creepy that Donald plays the part of Demetrius trying to wed Minnie's Hermia, Goofy as the mischievous and un-Shakespearean-speaking Puck is, as always, brilliantly cast.

The Taming of the Shrew
Oh Katherine, why do you hate men so? The film industry has been obsessed with Kate's bitchy ways since the 1908 film version, staring silent beauty Florence Lawrence. Of course, there is also the musical Kiss Me Kate, featuring songs such as "Tom, Dick or Harry" that should not be funny, but are. Of course, you can't forget the 1967 version staring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, which changed the ending to remove some of the sexist-taming out of the picture.

However, we are going to get super '90s on your asses and say one of the best adaptations is 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) simply because of Heath Ledger singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" with a high school marching band.

There are so many movie versions of "Hamlet." The conflicted, oedipal momma's boy is one of Shakespeare's best characters, IOO (In Our Opinion - yeah, we just coined that). It is difficult to pin down who portrayed him the best, but we have to go with Sir Laurence Olivier. You thought Mel Gibson and Kenneth Branagh were too old to play the Danish prince? Think again. Olivier was 47 when he starred in "Hamlet" (1948) and the part won him an Academy Award.

Ponder it, yo!

Julius Caesar
Brando as Mark Antony=mind blown. Never forget that Brando was once the greatest actor of all time.

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Also see:

"Strange Brew" (Hamlet)Akira Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood" (Macbeth) and "Ran" (King Lear)Gus Van Sant's "My Own Private Idaho" (Henry IV parts 1&2)and "Men of Respect" (a 'gangster' Macbeth)

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