The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fifth with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France (1944)
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I should preface by saying that I am not particularly a fan of Olivier's acting, but I do find the films he's directed creative and interesting. His Henry V is, in fact, a revelation. Filmed in 1944 in gorgeous Technicolor, it surprises by spending the first half hour as an Elizabethan play, complete with flubs, a rowdy audience and actors winking at it, then takes us into highly stylized scenes that look torn out of Medieval paintings, and then into realistic battle scenes before pulling us out again. Not only does this make the boring parts of the play (i.e. discussions of Salic law etc.) incredibly exciting (that giant model of 1600 London is just amazing) and outright FUNNY (love the bishops), but it also makes the film do what the Chorus asks his audience to do, i.e. imagine the world on stage. Film historian Bruce Eder's commentary track is scripted right down to the exclamations, but it never gets tedious because he's got so much to talk about, from the real history, to Shakespeare to the film itself.
Surely this could at least have "Henry V" as an aka? I've never seen a video or DVD or TV listing or anything sensible that uses its ridiculously long 'real' title.
I much prefer Branagh's Henry V but this film still has its good points and it's an interesting piece of wartime propaganda. I especially liked the set designs, there are moments when the scenes look exactly like medieval paintings.
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In 12 official lists
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This movie ranks #9 in Stanley Kubrick, Cinephile
This movie ranks #15 in National Board of Review Award - Best Film
This movie ranks #18 in BFI's Top 100 British Films
This movie ranks #41 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #117 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #155 in Academy Award - Best Picture Nominees
This movie ranks #163 in BFI's 360 Classic Feature Films Project
This movie ranks #170 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #178 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #292 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
This movie ranks #373 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #979 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films