Film Director Kenneth Branagh's Quest To Popularize Shakespeare

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kenneth Wesley Knight (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
William Brewer

Abstract: During the 1990s the public's fascination with the plays of William Shakespeare was at an all time high. This cultural interest was sparked in 1989 with director Kenneth Branagh's film version of Henry V. His early financial success led to Hollywood studios green-lighting production on dozens of Shakespeare adaptations. My thesis will focus on the cultural impact of the Shakespeare film adaptations of Kenneth Branagh as he attempted to bridge the divide between high and popular culture. The paper will investigate the history of the plays on film, argue that Shakespeare film adaptations are a more effective introduction to the material than a theater performance, and then go into an in-depth analysis of Branagh's career as the "New Laurence Olivier." The thesis will then conclude with some thoughts about how Shakespeare can once again become a part of a larger popular culture and widen its audience into the twenty-first century.

Additional Information

Knight, K. (2009). "Film Director Kenneth Branagh's Quest To Popularize Shakespeare." Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2009
William Shakespeare, Kenneth Branagh, Henry V, Shakespeare film adaptations, Hollywood

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