Television: The Hollow Crown – Henry V (2012)

Posted 12 October, 2014 by Lianne in Entertainment / 0 Comments

HENRY V has settled onto the throne and has the makings of a fine King. The French AMBASSADOR brings a challenge from the FRENCH DAUPHIN. Inspired by his courtiers, including EXETER and YORK, HENRY swears that he will, with all force, answer this challenge.

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I had watched “Richard II” (review) and “Henry IV” (review) earlier this year but for whatever reason never followed up with Henry V. I did read the play months ago (review) and I think my experience there might have been the partial cause there, but anyway, here we are now πŸ™‚

I had noted it in my review of the play, but this play works better watched/on-screen than on paper. I had liked it enough when I read it, but there’s something to seeing it performed that just amplifies the story. Unlike other notable plays, this one is pretty straightforward: an older Henry V goes off to fight France. Themes of fellowship, loyalty, and valiance are strong in this play and radiate through most of the characters and in their speeches and their interaction with one another.

Seeing this play on-screen, the viewer really gets a sense of Henry V’s maturity, compared to his days of youth in “Henry IV”. He takes his role as sovereign seriously, determined and pious, his passion of old re-directed to conquests of new with thanks to the people around him. He still has a bit of slyness in him, as he wandered through his camp at night and gaged the thoughts of those under his service, but otherwise he’s not the cheeky, silly boy we knew from the previous play. Tom Hiddleston does a lovely job portraying this side of Harry, and his earnestness in the speeches he delivers were quite wonderful and inspiring; even his “wooing” of Katherine, which I didn’t think too much of in reading the play, was pretty adorable in its delivery.

Like the previous plays, the cast of this play is fantastic. Familiar actors from the previous play, such as Julie Walters and Anton Lesser, make an appearance, while new characters portrayed by Lambert Wilson, Paterson Joseph, etc. grace the stage here. On a completely random note, I love the outfit that Exeter (Anton Lesser) wore when he had an audience with the King of France–so stylish! πŸ™‚

On another side note, the St. Crispin’s speech is a famous speech, but I didn’t realise there were other iconic lines that came from this place, such as “Once more unto the breach!”–clearly I wasn’t reading it carefully enough πŸ˜›

I wasn’t too sure what I felt about the voiceover chorus that wove in and out of the story as it gave me the sense that there were these big time jumps and pieces being drawn together. But it was brilliant how they tied the person narrating in with one of the characters at the end–and choosing John Hurt was a fantastic choice–so in the end, I rather liked it.

Overall, I enjoyed watching “Henry V”, it was a much more memorable experience watching it as opposed to just reading it. It was also an interesting way to conclude such a fantastic production. I’m really looking forward to the next cycle as it looks to be just as elaborate and epic as this set was (and good reason to get around to reading those plays-sometime next year though πŸ˜› ).

Rating: ★★★★☆

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