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"To Be or Not to Be" Smackdown

Who does it best? 


Branagh:


Gibson:


Hawke:


Olivier:


For a smackdown between actors performing Romeo and Juliet's balcony scene, click here.

Comments

Rforbes said…
I think merely because to be is a line referenced so often that even in its natural context it has a sort of a cliche to it, so I found that the decider for me on which soliloquy was better depended on the annunciation of the opening line. I found Gibson placed less emphasis on this opening line this allowed me to focus more on the gravity of the soliloquy that way it felt much less like an actor reading a script but instead a man thinking to himself
RLC said…
I believe that Kenneth Branagh's "To be or not to be" had the greatest impact. Branagh looks into his own eyes in the reflection of the mirror trying to find the answer. The audience can imagine the thought processes taking place in his mind.
DW said…
I felt like Kenneth Branagh's had the best performance of the "To be or not to be" speech. It was powerful how he looked at himself in the mirror while he spoke. He's body language was tense and the whole scene was kept interesting.
Nick Singer said…
Laurence Olivier hands down. No question about it. He was the most powerful in his acting.
nattyq said…
I agree, Laurence Olivier just has such a great delivery of the famous speech and he is truly convincing.
Cody Scarborough said…
In my opinion Mel Gibson gives the best delivery, but that is only because I can actually pay attention to him because I know who he is as an actor. It was hard for me to pay attention to the others because they were unfamiliar to me.
Greg Lopez said…
In my opinion, Branagh had the best "To Be or Not to Be" speech because of the intensity that he demonstrates through staring at his reflection. The mood that Branagh sets through the eerie stare adds to the scene. I thought the way they filmed this was very interesting and the whole scene all-in-all was the most interesting speech.
Anonymous said…
I would have to agree that Branagh has the best "To be or Not to Be" speech. This was the first Hamlet that I saw, and I found this scene to be so powerful. The use of the mirrors is very moving, especially because the men are eavesdropping. I think it represents the idea that Hamlet is constantly being watched, yet he's very in-tune with himself. His soliloquies definitely display his most personal thoughts and the dilemmas his life holds.
Jon Schifferle said…
I believe the acting was better in Olivier's, but the directing was better in Branagh's version.
Lauren N'guetta said…
In my opinion, I think that Mel Gibson's speech was the best. He does an amazing job at portraying Hamlet and captures his emotions really well. It was a very powerful speech and full of emotion that made it really believable and memorable.
Riccardo Masoni said…
In my opinion I would have to say that Branagh preformed the best "To be or not to be" speech. I believe that he captured it in a way that captures the audience. Along with that I found Mel Gibson's pauses for breath distracting from the emotion of the scene.
Mary Larson said…
I believe that Mel Gibson's speech of "To be or not to be" was the best. I really believe that he showed the emotion and his devotion to the lines Shakespeare created. I also think the his speech really captures the audience well.
nattyq said…
@cody scarborough I can actually see why you would feel that way. At first I had thought that I liked Laurence Olivier, but Mel Gibson is more entertaining if only by a little bit, just because he is a well known actor. That isn't to say though, that any actor we know of would be good as Hamlet, obviously. However, Mel Gibson was pretty good, and I didn't mind watching him play such a well known character.
Walter said…
I came down to voting for Mel Gibson on the "to be or not to be" smack down. I felt that Mel presented the popular soliloquy the best because he didnt sound monotone when we was addressing the lines. Other Hamlets seem to come to the conclusion during this speech that suicide is off the table, but Gibson’s Hamlet seems to begin it already knowing that he had no intention of killing himself. He seems more to be lamenting the fact that he already believes suicide is not an option. Its an unusual approach to the play,which makes it extremely valuable and fascinating.
Alyssa Bucher said…
I've always been a fan of Mel Gibson and I think he nails the "to be or not to be" speech. So much emotion is portrayed by him as he speaks and you truly are captivated.
I agree with Cody completely. Although the other actors did a good job saying the speech, I could really only connect with Mel Gibson, because he is the most modern to me and the most relatable. I liked his delivery best and I think he was very convincing.
nick bragg said…
I believe that the best performance was done in Kenneth Branagh's version of the scene because it gave a very powerful message. He was very stern and delivered what he said in a good calm manner.
Ryan Bass said…
I think the Kenneth Branagh's "To be or Not to Be" speech grasped my attention very well and his love for Shakespeare made it much more powerful. I could see the emotion on his face when he was acting it had a much bigger impact than all of the other actors.
Francesco Grillo said…
Once i was aware that Mel Gibson was involved in one of the parts, i was immediately more interested and able to focus more. It seems to me that because he is a veteran actor, he understands how to put emotion into the well known speech. He succeeds in my views because of his pauses that add intensity.
Whitman Burke said…
I think that Laurence Olivier had the best "To be or not to be" speech. He had lots of power and emotion and I just found his to be the most captivating.
MIckenzie Layson said…
Kenneth Branagh's was absolutely the best. The way he ebbs and flows in his speech is just amazing. There is just so much emotion and it definitely feels like Hamlet is cognitively thinking out everything.
Anonymous said…
And the winner is …

Richard Burton!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsrOXAY1arg&index=1&list=PL0673CECA5BF31EEF
I was surprised by my selection. I expected it would be close between Olivier and Branagh as they are the most gifted actors, yet shocked myself in liking Ethan Hawke's portrayal. How difficult is it to give a Hamlet performance in a blockbuster? His inflection at each important line is on point. How many times a single person on a Friday night with no date, prospects, maybe even a job stops at the blockbuster to buy a couple of videos for the night and looks just like Ethan walking around and thinking, " kill me now." A young person who's never read Shakespeare would know exactly what Ethan was saying. Bravo Ethan!

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