Much Ado About Nothing/A,A-

Columbia/1993/111m/ANA 1.85

     Much Ado About Nothing may well have been the best picture of 1993, although it was virtually ignored by the Award community. Perhaps its release during the early part of the year effected its fate to some degree, but this stunning example of adapting Shakespeare for the screen is nothing short of revelatory movie making. In the opening moments as the words of Shakespeare are scrolled in white across the black screen accompanied by period music and the glorious recitation of Emma Thompson: "Sigh no more ladies. Sigh no more. Men were deceivers ever...." director Kenneth Branagh emphasizes the words in print as well the lyric quality of the language. He bids you not forget the words. He invites you to listen to the beautiful rhythms of the language. And then the screen erupts into the lush visual landscape the director has chosen as the setting for this spectacular adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. Indeed, the visual splendor of this production marries with the beautiful language and plotting of Shakespeare to produce a masterful screen rendition. Each aspect of this production compliments the next in wondrous harmony. Lushly romantic and blatantly sentimental, it is also an ebullient battle of the sexes.


muchadoabout.jpg (13060 bytes)

A jubilant Shakespeare. ©Columbia Tristar

     Kenneth Branagh wears a multitude of hats successfully without losing the balance of a single chapeau. He has adapted Much Ado About Nothing for the screen and has shared the producing chores; and he directs as well as stars in a multifaceted display of talent. The director has put together a wonderful cast of players in bringing Shakespeare to exuberant screen realization. Bantering and bickering opposite Branagh's Benedick is Emma Thompson, imbuing the character of Beatrice with an alluring combination of grace and wit. Denzel Washington carries off the supporting role of Don Pedro with panache and charm. Robert Sean Leonard carries his innocence perfectly as Claudio and Keanu Reeves is so well cast as Don John, the malevolent half brother of Don Pedro, it's frightening. Michael Keaton does an astonishingly hilarious turn as a disheveled and disgusting Dogberry. Young Englishwoman Kate Beckinsale holds her own amongst the stellar cast in the important role of Hero. Kenneth Branagh brings out the best in all his performers from the stars of this ensemble treat to the smallest roles confined to the background.
     Filmed on location in the Italian hills of its Shakespearean setting, the camera work is stunning. It captures the excitement and jubilation of this cinema event in crystal clear exposures, whether poised slightly askew to emphasize the grossness of Keaton's Dogberry or high atop a crane picturing the dancing marriage celebrants. Director of Photography Roger Lanser is a major asset to the production team. Likewise Patrick Doyle, who is credited for the music on the film. The soundtrack, dominated by the soothing strumming of the lute, adds binding to the many successful elements of the film and is presented with appropriate spark.     What an enormous pleasure to see Much Ado About Nothing in widescreen for the first time (the laser was cropped to 1.33). The anamorphic transfer is simply glorious and side two offers a full frame version as well.  Detailed and colorful, you couldn't ask much more from a DVD. Even the Dolby Digital 2-Channel sound is outstanding, with air and transparency around the music, dialogue delivered to perfection and accurate sound levels.













The Feature Archive has articles ranging from John Ford to Blonde Bimbos, The HeistmastersAkira Kurosawa and Frank Darabont.

Click on the image above to learn more about the effect of an actor's voice on his screen persona. 

Check out the Movie Poster   Archive for short bios and images of Susan Hayward, Kirk Douglas, Katharine Hepburn and many more. This month's featured star is  Clark Gable.

Imaging Science Foundation
The Imaging Science Foundation promotes proper standards in home theater viewing. ISF trained technicians offer monitor calibration services to consumers. The difference in a  properly calibrated monitor can be astounding. Click on the image to find an ISF member near you.

DVD Verdict
They may be judgmental, but that's the point, isn't it. Lots of DVD reviews plus news and more

The Home Theater Forum
Looking for lively and helpful exchanges on home theater, DVD, movies. Visit this friendly site and get a hardy welcome.

Home Theater Reference Reviewing System

When you read a DVD review it's of utmost importance to know what equipment is being used to evaluate quality. Click on the projectors to find out more.