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Once more unto the breach, dear friends...

The Virtual Manuscript Room is a dazzling resource for those interested in film adaptations of Shakespeare.

In a recent poll the Facebook fans of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust voted for Kenneth Branagh as their favourite Shakespearean actor on film. We are tremendously proud that Kenneth Branagh is our patron for this year’s inaugural Shakespeare Film Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The festival has seen the showing of some truly fantastic Shakespeare films from Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in The Taming of the Shrew to a Kid’s Club screening of Gnomeo and Juliet. The glitz and glamour will sadly be coming to a close this weekend with the showing of Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing on Saturday, and his Henry V on Sunday.

In this blog, I wanted to mention a brilliant Shakespeare film resource, which is part of the Shakespeare Institute’s archive and is freely accessible via The Virtual Manuscript Room. Here you can see the scripts, screenplays and storyboards that made films such as Hamlet starring Mel Gibson, and indeed Branagh’s Henry V, which I have been looking at to get me in the mood for Sunday!

By looking at the storyboard in particular, you feel like you’re peeking behind the scenes of how a film like this was visualised and came together.

Storyboard for for the Renaissance Films production of 'Henry V', showing Henry's speech at Harfleur: "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more".
Storyboard for for the Renaissance Films production of 'Henry V', showing Henry's speech at Harfleur: "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more".
A selection of the storyboard from the 1989 'Henry V' alongside a still from the film.
A selection of the storyboard from the 1989 'Henry V' alongside a still from the film.

Here is a clip of the film itself...

This weekend, we will also be launching our Shakespeare Film Competition for young cinematographers who are inspired by Shakespeare. Maybe they will find inspiration, along with hints, tips and ideas, in the Virtual Manuscript Room.