Hamlet - 70mm 4 hours - Rated: HOT HOT HOT!

Make the effort! This is a wonderful film, and worth making a day of it. There's an intermission after the first two hours or so, and you get the chance to stretch your legs, and return refreshed for the second half. It does not feel like 4 hours at all.

Why? Because not only is Hamlet a terrific play when done well, but also:
- it has lots of the best Shakespeare "quotes,"so you keep recognising the bits you know

- Kenneth Branagh makes a great Hamlet: he looks great - svelte and sexy. He has always been strong in making Shakespeare "conversational", and funny (remember Much Ado About Nothing?)
- there are so many fabulous "name" actors sprinkled throughout, that any time you begin to think about the time, another wonderful character pops up to hold your interest. Standout performances by Julie Christie as Gertrude, Robin Williams as Osric, Billy Crystal as the funniest gravedigger I've ever seen, and a towering Charleton Heston as the Player King. He tops them all.

- The film looks great. Instead of the usual damp and dank Elsinore, we have a Georgian mansion. The costumes are velvety and braided, and very tactile. Everyone looks terrific. And it is shot in 70mm format, in widescreen, so the film fills your field of vision. It is easy to get lost in it.

- Much of the action is filmed in a hall of mirrors, and it is absolutely fascinating to try to work out how they did it without filming the filmmakers and technicians. Branagh throws in a few 360 degree turn, just to show off

- It is a very moving play, and the film cherishes that aspect of the play. It brought me to tears 4 times in the first half, and 3 times in the second.

I have not seen the 2 hour version, but I'm considering seeing the 4 hour version again. It will be a pleasure. Oh and by the way, on the day I saw the film a group of teenage schoolies sat behind me. My heart sank. I thought they'd laugh and talk all the way through it. But after the first 5 minutes they fell silent, and remained in rapt attention for the whole 4 hours. QED.