The Enemy in "Henry V" Films Comparison Essay by bigbug

The Enemy in "Henry V" Films
This paper compares the representation of the enemy in two films of Shakespeare's "Henry V", the first directed by L. Olivier and the second by K. Branagh.
# 117503 | 2,072 words | 10 sources | MLA | 2009 | GB
Published on Dec 06, 2009 in Film (Analysis, Criticism, Etc.) , Shakespeare (Henry IV, V)

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The paper argues that the marked disparity between the directors' representations of the enemy in "Henry V" highlights and epitomizes the different socio-political perspectives of the two films. The paper discusses how Olivier's film delineates a historical epic and patriotic propaganda film, while Branagh's film captures a realistic and alleged anti war viewpoint. The paper goes on to show how the directors' manipulation of the French enemy shapes not only how the audience views and interprets Henry's project but also his character. The paper illustrates how to achieve their contrary visions, both directors altered Shakespeare's text, deleting or reassigning lines and characters whilst skilfully exploiting the resource of the camera to evoke the desired audience response.

From the Paper:

"As with Shakespeare's text, the central conflict in both films remains between the English and the French, yet a very different image of England's enemy emerges in these two films. Our first glimpse of Olivier's French court reveals a scene seemingly designed as a static tableau reminiscent of medieval manuscript illustrations, such as those produced by Limbourg of Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc be Berry (Loehlin:1996:37) in the fifteenth century, and thus contemporaneous with the Battle of Agincourt. Olivier's mis-en-scene is lavishly dressed and costumes are sumptuous and colourful, creating visual charm for the audience. Lack of character movement and the use of mid and long-range camera shots frame the pictorial effect of these scenes."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Cartmell, Deborah Interpreting Shakespeare on Screen Macmillan Press Ltd: London 2000
  • Davies, Anthony Filming Shakespeare's Plays Cambridge University Press: Cambridge 1988
  • Humphreys, A.R.(ed.) New Penguin Shakespeare Henry V Penguin Books: Middlesex 1975
  • Jorgens, Jack J. Shakespeare on Film University Press of America: Lanham 1991
  • Loehlin, James N. Henry V Manchester University Press: Manchester 1996

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

The Enemy in "Henry V" Films (2009, December 06) Retrieved September 30, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Enemy in "Henry V" Films" 06 December 2009. Web. 30 September. 2023. <>