Make That Sir KennethBy Cynthia Hawkins
June 16, 2012
If you know me in the least you know my adoration for Kenneth Branagh runs so deep I even “loved” Thor, and now I can be even more obnoxious in my fandom by insisting that we refer to him as Sir Kenneth Branagh from now on. I say so. The Queen says so. Here he is being all humble (see! he can be humble!) about being knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list:
Because I know you’ll want to join me in celebrating Sir Kenneth by viewing some of his best performances, here are five selections to get you started.
Consider this your master class in acting. I’ve said before that Branagh’s St. Crispin’s Day speech is sure to roll your socks up and down, and I stand by that.
My Week with Marilyn
Sir Kenneth has been criticized in the past for being a little too much of a Laurence Olivier fanboy, but here Branagh puts it to good use by playing his hero to perfection.
How to Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog
Branagh as a curmudgeony kid-phobic writer in Los Angeles hanging out with a kid in order to perfect his ear for kid dialogue? Yes. Please.
I hate to admit it, but Branagh’s often at his best when he’s playing an uptight jackass. In Pirate Radio, he’s the uptight jackass trying to kill music.
Oh, this one gets special kudos for combining my husband’s two least favorite things in one with its casting of Branagh as the surrogate Woody Allen.
There IS justice in the world. Thank you, Sir Ken. And thank you, Cynthia Hawkins.
Justice indeed! *contented sigh*
This was the first news I heard when I woke up. I think I’ve only really seen him in Shackleton, years and years ago but I loved it.
I’ve been meaning to watch Henry V though. I think it’s on as part of the torrent of Shakespeare on TV over the summer. I prefer my Shakespeare to feature Sir Patrick Stewart OBE. Actually I prefer anything that features Patrick Stewart.
Okay, Sir Patrick Stewart’s just fine, but shhhhhh. This is the day we only speak of Sir Kenneth. And do tell him I said “hello!” Because, you know, you’re both in England and all that.
If I bump into him later at the tea rooms I shall say hello.
I really liked his version of Hamlet too. Long, I know, and too many soliloquies, but someone had to try to include every scene from the play, and I doubt anyone else could’ve done it better.
I do love his Hamlet. Everyone always cuts the Fortinbras stuff, and he didn’t. Bravo. I wish maybe he’d gone with a less opulent look (I like gritty Shakespeare, I guess) and casted a few parts differently, but over all the English-professor me approves!
The recent-ish BBC/RSC TV play keeps the entire text, and stars David Tennant AND Sir Patrick Stewart. It’s excellent.
Henry V is audacious, stirring and remains his best work in Shakespeare…one of the best ever on film (methinks.) I remember sitting slack jawed in the theater in ’89 thinking…this guy is just a couple years older than me? If I’d bumped into him in the lobby waiting for popcorn, I would have called him “Sir” right then and there…so to my mind it’s a knighting 23 years tardy!
This film is almost entirely to blame for my decision, once upon a time, to switch majors from art to English. It’s all Sir Ken’s fault!
A friend of mine acted in an abridged production of Henry V that was played almost as a comedy. It was surprisingly effective, but the Once more Unto the Breach speech was a little undermined.
Of the versions I’ve heard, Branagh’s is my favourite. Very much looking forward to seeing Tom Hiddleston’s version later this summer for the BBC.
I would love to see Hiddleston in Henry V! Hopefully it won’t take too long to make its way to the States.
I think it’s on in early July over here…
But here he is just performing the speech from Act III:
Well then….Bravo, Sir Ken!
I thought he was really good in Chariots of Fire…actually, I agree about Hamlet. Was blown away by it watching in a theater in Ohio all by myself.