We’ve been harsh on Kenneth Branagh and his self-mythologising, including his recent Belfast. On this episode, we want to be kind and look back to Branagh’s amazing Much Ado About Nothing.
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This episode features Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney, Executive Editor Orla Smith, Associate Editor Brett Pardy, and regular guest Caitlin Merriman.
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Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
Kenneth Branagh adapts one of Shakespeare’s typically complex comedy plots, starring Emma Thompson, Robert Sean Leonard, Kate Beckinsale, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Michael Keaton, Phyllida Law, Ben Elton, Gerald Horan, Brian Blessed, Imelda Staunton, and Branagh himself.
Much Ado About Nothing is available on DVD and VOD,
On this episode about Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing:
- Why this episode? (0:55)
- The extremely nineties trailer (6:04)
- Introducing the characters, including Emma Thompson’s Beatrice (8:34)
- The ridiculous villain, Don John, played by Keanu Reeves (16:05)
- Back to the plot and Kenneth Branagh’s great mask work (20:55)
- Denzel Washington as Don Pedro (25:25)
- Branagh and Thompson’s excellence at Shakespearean comedy (29:28)
- Michael Keaton as Dogberry and Ben Elton as Verges (36:31)
- “Friar plans” and the ending (43:13)
- Kenneth Branagh’s directing (53:50)
- Costumes (57:04)
- Alternate setting possibilities (57:55)
- Has this film aged well? (1:04:45)
- Conclusion (1:10:38)
- See our 21st Folio podcast page
- Bonus 22: Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth
- Bonus 20: Belfast and the self-mythologising of Kenneth Branagh