Film Review

Directions for Film Review

Length: 2 1/2-3 pages, double-spaced

Format: Use MLA paper formatting and save as a Rich text (.rtf) or MSWord document (.doc)

Weight: 100 points

Resources: Writing About Drama (1121-1140), Know This: MLA format, sample comparison/review in Week 10 folder
Revision Guide

There are five plays in our text which also have readily available film equivalents. For those who live in Dayton, these films are available at local libraries and video stores. Netflicks free two week trial is also a good option (for those with credit cards) though watch the deadline to cancel carefully and know it can be addictive!

Before you read for your essay, find the film you will watch among the following plays/fiction:

* Proof by David Auburn (1238)

* Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (1293)

* Hamlet by William Shakespeare (1367) (see note below about online versions)

* Oedipus the King by Sophocles (1507) (see note below about online versions)

* The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams (1629)

Reading Plays

Most of these plays are very straightforward. Hamlet and Oedipus are older and more difficult to read though summaries are available on the Internet. It helps if you watch the play with your book open, knowing that you will probably have to flip around a bit to find the scenes as most film productions are abridged in some way. Many are available streamed from Ohio Link, directions below.

You may also choose any film adaptation by Shakespeare as full text versions of the plays are available online, as are summaries. Many, many adaptations of Shakespeare plays have been made over the years, even some, like the contemporary film O (based on Othello), Ten Things I Hate About You (based on The Taming of the Shrew), or Shes the Man (based on Twelfth Night) are in modern English.
Writing the Essay

Read through the play (or a summary of longer, more difficult plays) to get the overall gist and order of scenes in the original version.

To find Shakespeare plays or Oedipus online on Ohio Link:
1. Go to the SCC library homepage at
2. Choose Digital Music, Videos, & Images from the menu at left.
3. Next, choose Digital Video Collection.
o To watch a film, you will need to enter your tartan ID number (all digits) when you are off campus.
4. Then search for Shakespeare or other titles.
*Directions for downloading a real player found at .

Watch the film with your text open, comparing what you see to what youve read. You may need to stop frequently as you do this to take notes and discover deviations.

As you watch, choose several scenes to explore in depth to look for small changes from the original play. Youll need these notes (both from the text and descriptions of what you see on the screen) for specific passages of evidence in the essay.

Make sure your essay at some point answers the following question:

How does the film version negatively distort, enhance, or remain faithful to the original play?

This may be the entire focus of your paperin which case the answer is your thesis or you may give a more general evaluation of the film as a film reviewer would (this film is worth seeing, etc.) and include a body paragraph or two that answers the above question.

In other words, does the film match what you imagined when reading the stage directions, descriptions of characters, etc.? What is your judgment about how faithful the film is to the playwrights intent, and do any changes from the intent improve or worsen it? Use the text ideas on pages 1084 – 1089 for guidance as to other topics to consider as well as tips for writing about drama.
Consider paragraph topics such as:

* Deviations in Dialogue/Scene Order
* Deviations from Stage Directions
* Costumes
* Castings
* Lighting
* Props & Sets

As suggested in the Hamlet Assignment, it’s a good idea to make yourself a little chart to keep notes. If you don’t consider different topics as you watch, it’s more difficult to write paragraphs on specific topics later.
Body Paragraph Development

* Main Point: Topic & Comment =Topic sentence
* Evidence from play/film
* Explanation of evidence (how it proves the topic sentence point)

For example,

Main Point: Topic = dialogue Comment = dramatically changed in film version to its detriment.

Evidence = lines from film and play

Explanation = how those differences negatively affect readers/viewers understanding

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