Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Henry V (1943, Reginald Beck)

TitleHenry V
Release LocationsGB
DirectorReginald Beck
MediumColor video
Length2 hrs, 17 mins
Play ConnectionsHenry V (interpretation)


Dedicated to the British Paratroops who were preparing then for the WWII D-day landings in Normandy, this film was designed to bolster the morale of an embattled nation. It bears close comparison therefore with the differently oriented Kenneth Branagh 1989 film of Henry V (182.2). The exploits of England's fifteenth-century Henry V in France were to be emulated by the soldiers of the mid-twentieth century. The colorful battle scenes, which required the construction of a half-mile-long track for the camera to record the famous French cavalry charge, were shot at Enniskerry, Ireland, with extras recruited from among the Home Guard. The rest of the film was made at the Denham and Pinewood studios, England. The replica of medieval London, modeled after Visscher's famous view, was especially constructed for the establishing shot that tracks a fluttering handbill down to the site of the Globe. In a crane shot, the camera glances over the city, momentarily pauses at the adjacent Bear Garden and then closes in on the Globe playhouse. The lively realism of the Elizabethan playhouse is contrasted with the subsequent artifice of the sequences in France, modeled after an illuminated manuscript, Les très riches heures du Duc de Berry. Olivier thus offers the audience "a Muse of fire" (KSR)

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

DauphinMax Adrian
Princess KatharineRenée Asherson
CanterburyFelix Aylmer
ChorusLeslie Banks
IsabelJanet Burnell
WestmorelandGerald Case
BoyG. Cole
NymFrederick Cooper
BurgundyValentine Dyall
BardolphRoy Emmerton
MessengerJ. Field
Constable Of FranceLeo Genn
Sir Thos. ErpinghamMorland Graham
HeraldV. Greeves
BatesArthur Hambling
WilliamsJimmy Hanley
PriestE. Hare
Bishop Of ElyRobert Helpmann
Mistress QuicklyFreda Jackson
SalisburyGriffith Jones
FluellenEsmond Knight
JamyJohn Laurie
OrleansFrancis Lister
MacMorrisNiall MacGinnis
Ancient PistolRobert Newton
CourtBrian Nissen
Henry VLaurence Olivier
FalstaffGeorge Robey
GowerMichael Shepley
Lady-In-WaitingIvy St. Helier
French AmbassadorErnest Thesiger
BourbonRussell Thorndike
Gov. HarfleurF. Tickle
GloucesterMichael Warre

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorReginald Beck
DirectorLaurence Olivier
Assistant DirectorVincent Permane
Associate ProducerDallas Bower
ProducerLaurence Olivier
ContinuityJoan Barry
ComposerWilliam Walton
Adaptor/TranslatorAlan Dent
CostumesMargaret Furse
CostumesRoger Furse
MakeupTony Sforzini
HairVivienne Walker
LightingW. Wall
SoundJohn Dennis
SoundD. Dew
ConductorMuir Mathieson
CameraJack Hildyard
PhotographyRobert Krasker
ProductionCarmen Dillon
Production SupervisorPhill Samuel
ProductionPaul Sheriff
Scenic ArtistE. Lindegaard
Special EffectsPercy Day
StillsW. Newton
Master Of HouseJohn White

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell