Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Hamlet (1964, Bill Colleran)

Release LocationsUSA
DirectorBill Colleran
MediumBlack & white video
Length3 hrs, 19 mins
Play ConnectionsHamlet (recording)


This famous but elusive version of Hamlet was recorded at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York City, on June 30 and July 1, 1964 during a regularly scheduled performance of the play. Directed by John Gielgud, the play came to New York City after a stormy interval in Toronto. The recording of the play was done by a technological system called "Electronovision," which involved several strategically deployed hidden cameras that transmitted impulses to a master camera. The production was then at once relayed to theatre audiences throughout America. This method, which allowed audiences to view New York theatre on home-town movie screens, where people had gathered especially for the occasion, was a kind of hybrid of live theatre and movie-going. It brought a glimpse of the ritual and glory of great theatre into middle America, but was doomed by encroaching technological advances that would make it harder and harder to entice audiences away from electronic home entertainment centers

Description from Shakespeare on Screen : an International Filmography and Videography by Kenneth S. Rothwell and Annabelle Henkin Melzer. ©1990 Kenneth S. Rothwell. Cited by permission. — Added 2008-11-14

Cast Overview

Cornelius/ Gravedigger/English AmbassadorHugh Alexander
HamletRichard Burton
VoltemandPhilip Coolidge
PoloniusHume Cronyn
Player QueenChristopher Culkin
LaertesJohn Cullum
ClaudiusAlfred Drake
FranciscoMichael Ebert
Osric/ReynaldoDillon Evans
RosencrantzClement Fowler
LucianusGeoff Garland
A MessengerAlex Giannini
GhostJohn Gielgud
CastClaude Harz
GertrudeEileen Herlie
Player PrologueJohn Hetherington
Marcellus/PriestBarnard Hughes
OpheliaLinda Marsh
HoratioRobert Milli
CastGerome Ragin
GuildensternWilliam Redfield
1st GravediggerGeorge Rose
CastLinda Seff
A GentlemanRichard Sterne
SupernumerariesCarol Teitel
Player KingGeorge Voskovec
BernardoFrederick Young

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorBill Colleran
Assistant DirectorJoel Glickman
Assistant DirectorDan Smith
ProducerAlexander H. Cohen
ProducerAlfred W. Crown
ProducerWilliam Sargent
EditorBruce Pierce
Technical DirectorCharles LaForce
Adaptor/TranslatorJohn Gielgud
Stage DirectorJohn Gielgud
CostumesJane Greenwood
LightingJean Rosenthal
SoundJames Fritch
ProductionBen Edwards
Production SupervisorJ. E. Kilgore
VideoCarl Houseman

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell