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November 13 2013

Comparing Much Ado About Nothings. The-Toast compares how differently Branagh and Whedon filmed Much Ado, looking at some of the major scenes as well as the overall approach.

There is good use of pictures from the films to illustrate the difference.

Great essay, especially in now deftly it points out how Branagh's version is all about the theatricality of Great Performances (and the immense perfection of Emma Thompson in particular, at least to me) while Joss's is about the connections and relationships.

I remember liking the 1993 version when I saw it decades ago, but I couldn't get through it recently. I'm going to have to try and watch the wedding scene though-- it sounds bananas.
Agree, great essay. I remember the Branagh version as - well, let's just say I'd love to be at a wedding that ended the way the second one does :).
I haven't seen Branagh's, but I did like what the author said about the human connections in Whedon's version making the betrayals more meaningful. When I watched the wedding, I really felt like someone should have hit Leonato in the face repeatedly. He's such a nice guy for the rest of the film, and such scum in that moment.
Wow, she's not kidding about Claudio knocking benches over ... that scene is a lot more melodramatic than I remembered.

One of my (many) favorite things about the Whedon version is the look on Claudio's face when he sees which dress Hero is wearing. It captures the emotion of the moment in an understated but very human way--and actually makes me feel sorry for Claudio. I love aspects of the Branagh version--Emma Thompson is amazing, and I will love her always--but Claudio really came across as a jerk in that version, and I didn't really want Hero to forgive him at the end.

I much prefer the Whedon/Kranz version of Claudio. At least in regard to this character, I tend to agree with the author of this piece. But it's been years since I watched the Branagah version all the way through ... I kinda want to revisit it now, and compare the two adaptations in detail.
Claudio & Hero are really not all that bright... if we ever saw a sequel, we'd see Beatrice and Bennedick doing all their thinking.

I'd noticed many of the things the author points out -- that Joss had Amy and Alexis talking to each other rather than performing, for instance -- but I hadn't put two and two together thematically. Thanks, author!
wonderful piece,I love both versions but they are very different and I particularly liked the bit about thanking branagh for hiddleston.
I kinda want to do a comparison with the 2011 version with Tennant and Tate
I haven't watched the Branagh version since it was released, but it did strike me in Whedon's version just how naive Claudio is. He's willing to trust Don Jon a second time, immediately after he's been fooled by him about the Count's wooing of Hero for himself.

In some program for the play the notes point out that in Shakespeare's day the word "nothing" would have been pronounced with a hard "t". "Much Ado about Noting". The title is a pun because people are busily going around looking at each other, but not necessarily seeing what is there. They "see" what they have been told to expect to see. Claudio expects to see Hero unfaithful, and so he does, while at the opposite end of the spectrum, Beatrice and Benedick have been told to see the other in love with them, and so they do.
the tvtropes entry for the play talks about four different interpretations of the title IIRC.
Claudio is an absolute fool which is why my favourite ending is the one from shakespeare retold where Hero essentially tells him to get lost.
Refreshing and insightful comments to this essay as well. Very enjoyable.

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