Thursday, 17 June 2010

Best Actor 1946: Laurence Olivier in Henry V

Laurence Olivier received his third acting nomination for playing King Henry V in Shakespeare's Henry V.

Henry V is a very well made adaptation directed by Laurence Olivier. He sets up the film very well by starting in the Globe theater then moving on to the more traditional film version. Yes there are scenes clearly on sets but Olivier directs them very well despite this hindrance. Making the language understandable with the right power.

Laurence Olivier is the first actor to be nominated for portraying Henry V, Kenneth Branagh would late do it in 1989. Comparing the two performances, allows one to see how good Olivier is and how almost incomparable he was as a Shakespearean actor. Olivier speaks the sometimes troublesome words with the best sort of naturalism. He never is ever theatrical acting at all something Branagh had trouble with throughout his performance. Olivier is just correct as Henry all the way through his performance.

Olivier always has the right dignity and grace in the role as Henry. He never overacts being to seem to be a King, but rather merely feels as if he is one. He carries himself in just the right manner that he might as well be Henry. All his motions and just the way he wears his crown fit the part perfectly. Olivier was clearly an actor who knew himself since he solely was responsible for this performance. He never let himself seem wrong ever, and is always correct in this performance, something Branagh did not do when Branagh directed himself.

 Olivier uses his great voice well in this performance. He always puts the right power and effort into his speech, not only to put the power into the scenes but also he helps the non Shakespearean viewer understand the old English better. Olivier's performance is full of challenging scenes that all depend on his performance carrying the scene. Such as the big dramatic speech to the soldiers, no big epic score behind him like in Branagh's but just his voice for this scene. Olivier perfectly makes the speech just a rousing perhaps even more so than Branagh's. In fact every scene Branagh seems a little shaky Olivier is completely confidant and strong. Olivier masters every scene he is in, and I particularly liked the romantic scene with Henry and the princess of France, because it shows another side of Henry. Olivier shows the more carefree Henry just as well as the commanding Henry. A great Shakespearean performance from a great Shakespearean actor. 

5 comments:

joe burns said...

I guess he'll be second.

Sage Slowdive said...

I hope he's first...

joe burns said...

I thought you said March was your pick?

Sage Slowdive said...

I do, but it's obvious he's not going to be Louis's pick.

Tanvir Bashar said...

Which actors wud u say r Oliver's contemporaries