I knew, going into this film, that many consider it to be the definitive HAMLET. It’s for good reason. Sir Laurence Olivier, who both directs and stars in the titular role, puts such obvious care and thought into every line and every scene. His portrayal of Hamlet is consistently passionate and never melodramatic. As for the art direction — what words do I have to describe it? The camera moves about the players with long, deliberate shots, and at every turn there is a scene composed so perfectly that it tells you almost as much about the story as the dialog itself. Equally memorable is the backdrop of a sprawling, severe castle, wrapped in mist. And I have to say, the moments where Hamlet confronts his father’s ghost are genuinely scary. Although I do think I prefer the Kenneth Branagh version in all of its glitzy, unabridged glory, Sir Laurence Olivier’s adaptation is a gorgeous treatment of a classic play.