Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Richard III. Laurence Olivier. London Films.

Film Trade Magazine Advert for Richard the Third.
Starring: Laurence Olivier.
Illustration: PICCLICK

The following Text is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia.

London Films Productions is a British film and television production company founded in 1932 by Alexander Korda and from 1936 based at Denham Film Studios in Buckinghamshire, near London.

The company's productions included The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), Things to Come (1936), Rembrandt (1936), and The Four Feathers (1939). The facility at Denham was taken over in 1939 by Rank and merged with Pinewood to form D and P Studios.

The outbreak of War necessitated that The Thief of Bagdad (1940) was completed in California, although Korda's handful of American-made films still had Big Ben for their opening Corporate Logo.

Laurence Olivier
Illustration: IMDB

After a restructuring of Korda's U.K. operations in the Late-1940s, London Films were now made at Shepperton. One of these was The Third Man (1949). The Company's film The Sound Barrier (1952) won The Academy Award for Best Sound.

More than forty years after Korda died in January 1956, the Company returned to active film-making in 1997, with Morgan Mason as the Chief Executive.

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM (22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an English actor who, along with his contemporaries Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud, dominated the British Stage of the Mid-20th-Century. He also worked in films throughout his career, playing more than fifty cinema roles. Late in his career, he had considerable success in television roles.

Among Olivier's films are Wuthering Heights (1939), Rebecca (1940), and a trilogy of Shakespeare films as actor-director: Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1948), and Richard III (1955).

Olivier's honours included a Knighthood (1947), a Life Peerage (1970) and The Order of Merit (1981). For his on-screen work, he received four Academy Awards, two British Academy Film Awards, five Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards.

The National Theatre's largest auditorium is named in his honour, and he is commemorated in The Laurence Olivier Awards, given annually by The Society of London Theatre. He was married three times, to the actresses Jill Esmond from 1930 to 1940, Vivien Leigh from 1940 to 1960, and Joan Plowright from 1961 until his death.

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Richard III is a 1955 British Technicolor film adaptation of William Shakespeare's historical play of the same name, also incorporating elements from his Henry VI, Part 3. It was directed and produced by Sir Laurence Olivier, who also played the lead role.

The cast includes many noted Shakespearean actors, including a quartet of Knights. The film depicts Richard plotting and conspiring to grasp the throne from his brother King Edward IV, played by Sir Cedric Hardwicke. In the process, many are killed and betrayed, with Richard's evil leading to his own downfall. The prologue of the film states that history without its legends would be "a dry matter indeed", implicitly admitting to the artistic licence that Shakespeare applied to the events of the time.

Of the three Shakespearean films directed by Olivier, Richard III received the least critical praise at the time, although it was still acclaimed. It was the only one not to be nominated for Best Picture at The Academy Awards, though Olivier's acting performance was nominated.

The film gained popularity through a US re-release in 1966, which broke box office records in many Cities. Many critics now consider Olivier's Richard III his best screen adaptation of Shakespeare. The British Film Institute has pointed out that, given the enormous TV audiences it received when shown in The USA in 1955, the film "may have done more to popularise Shakespeare than any other single Work".

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