Monday, April 11, 2011

Shakespeare Inspired Director Inspires

Earlier in the semester, I blogged about the music used in Laurence Olivier's Hamlet. Upon further research, I found that Olivier's film adaptations of Shakespeare's works served as an inspiration for Peter Sellers' comedic adaptation of the famous Beatles' song, "Hard Days Night."  In Stephen Purcell's book Popular Shakespeare, he makes the following observations regarding Seller's unique adaptation:
Perhaps the most famous parodic allusion to Olivier, however is Peter Sellers' version of the Beatles'  Hard Days Night, which he recorded in 1965 (making the Top 20).  Sellers caricatures the idiosyncrasies of Olivier's verse-speaking- accent, offbeat pauses, rhythmic delivery, sudden and dynamic changes in tempo and pitch- and in applying them to the lyrics of a popular song, he satirically deconstructs their aggrandizing effect.  Sellers performed a televised version of the piece in costume as Olivier's Richard III. (107) 
With Sellers' Olivier-esq rendition of "Hard Days Night" we see a chain reaction of Shakespeare inspired works.  Originally, Olivier was inspired by Shakespeare who inspired Peter Sellers.  This shows that not only does Shakespeare inspire by himself, but those inspired by Shakespeare inspire others as well, creating a circle of inspiration beginning and ending with the Bard.

Here is a video with Peter Sellers' performance of "Hard Days Night" as Richard III:

 Purcell, Stephen. Popular Shakespeare. New York: Palgrave Macmillian, 2009. Print.