Instant Shakespeare

This article from The Idler on Shakespeare movie adaptations doesn’t cover the same old ground that everybody else does. Rarely do you see mention of Edward II or Middleton’s Revengers Tragedy amid the praise for Heath Ledger’s work in 10 Things I Hate About You.

I’m linking the article for the list at the bottom – the author has gone into Netflix and made a list of all the Shakespeare adaptations that are available for instant streaming.  I’ve often browsed the listings myself, stumbling across items such as Jarman’s 1979 Tempest (Mentioned in the article) or James Earl Jones’ King Lear. I wonder how complete her list is?  That would be a great resource if it was kept up to date somewhere.

14 thoughts on “Instant Shakespeare

  1. Thanks for linking to the post! I tried to make the list as complete as possible for what is *currently* streaming. It's hard to stay on top of–stuff comes and goes, and there are definitely films that used to be streaming that are no longer (Olivier's Othello and Richard III, for instance). If I've missed anything, I would love it if folks would leave comments at The Idler! I did decide that the post would only focus on straight films of the plays, not adaptations, but keep your eyes open for an adaptation list next month!

  2. You know, I really don't get how Netflix instant operates. I've seen stuff come off and then come back on again–that's what happened with Strange Brew. Maybe it has something to do with rights? Or maybe they have limited capacity and they rotate? I'm not sure, but it's certainly frustrating!

    The Idler column is one that's written by a few of us about what's streaming. I usually stay away from work-related stuff, but I couldn't help it this time. I'll try to remember to ping you both when I get to the adaptation column.

  3. I did notice that one of your notes said that something was only available until 10/15 … why is that, exactly? I get that stuff is constantly being added but it never occurred to me that Netflix might be taking stuff off at a similar pace. What's up with that?

  4. There is a new film about about the question of who wrote the work. The trailer looks really good, hopefully it will open the eyes of people who may not stop to ask the question themselves.

  5. The film address whether or not the Earl of Oxford was the real author. I came across some information online about him and why people believe him to be the real author:

    1920 – J. T. Looney, a Gateshead schoolmaster proposes Oxford as the author behind Shakespeare in his book Shakespeare Identified. His followers have modified the theory to put Oxford at the head of a group of brilliant courtiers who produced the plays as a committee.


    Oxford's biography also fitted the bill, according to Looney. As a courtier he had the necessary intimate knowledge of the monarchy and nobility. His extensive travels had caused him to be mocked as an 'Italianate Englishman'. In 1598, Francis Meres named Oxford as 'The best for Comedy among us', which Looney asserted was evidence for Oxford having written plays – none of which exist under his name, perhaps because they were known under Shakespeare's name?


    Shakespeare's role in the syndicate was as the honest broker that negotiated with theatres and printers for production and publication of the plays. His name became the pseudonym that would protect the true authors form any politically dangerous material that they produced. Shakespeare's acting knowledge may have aided the authors in rendering their literary productions into texts that were suitable for stage performance.

  6. Thanks, Anonymous. Interesting theory that Oxford could write so well about politics, etc. b/c he was a politician.

    I guess this means that Stephen King was a rabid St. Bernard once, too. And that George Lucas formerly lived on another planet a long time ago. And that Oxford, or one of his co-writers, was a twin.

    I see that you've ably dismissed the hackneyed objection that Oxford could not have written quite a few of the plays since he had been dead when they were performed by suggesting the "Shakespeare by Committee" theory.

    Just curious if the number of writers in that
    group is equal to the number of monkeys with typewriters in another fascinating theory about Shakespeare.

  7. What other playwright of the Elizabethan, Stuart and Caroline eras is subjected to the sort of thing "Anonymous" proposes? Not Middleton, Kyd, Marlowe, Webster, Marston, Jonson, Fletcher, Ford et al. Only Shakespeare.

  8. See? This is why I typically delete the Oxfordian spam. I was just away from the computer this weekend so I couldn't get to it in time, and now that there's conversation I hate to remove all of it,

  9. The spamming here is apparently small potatoes in their "campaign". Have you seen the PDF they're distributing to teachers?

  10. Ed, Having no response from Duane yet,
    I won't presume permission to leave a live link here. You can find a download link at my blog, shakespeareplace.

  11. Thanks Duane.
    Don't you love the free classroom poster:

    "Was Shakespeare A Fraud ?"

    Let's have them look at THAT all day. Maybe they'll be interested in the finer points of R&J–ya think? 🙂

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