The theme of this year’s Focus on Film series at the Mondavi Center is “Shakespeare, self-directed.” The series will begin Monday, Nov. 4, with a screening of Laurence Olivier’s black-and-white film adaptation of “Hamlet” from 1948, with Olivier starring in the title role, and directing as well.
The project didn’t go down well with Shakespeare purists — Olivier trimmed nearly two hours of material (including several characters) from Shakespeare’s original (which runs nearly 4 1/2 hours when staged uncut). But Hollywood was enthusiastic: It became the first British film to win the Academy Award for best picture, and Olivier won best actor for his portrayal of the melancholy Dane.
The Nov. 4 presentation in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre will begin with a 6:30 p.m. talk by professor Francis Dolan of the UC Davis English department; the film will screen at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $10 general, $5 for UC Davis students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787 or at the door.
Subsequent screenings in this year’s series will be Al Pacino’s 1996 film “Looking for Richard” on March 3, and Kenneth Branagh’s “Henry V” on April 28.