Henry V

 

 


 

Olivier's performance as the King stands tall as one of his very best. His Battle Of Agincourt speech is justifiably famous, yet he also delivers many other wonderful pieces of theatrical acting throughout the film. His soliloquy in voice-over as he visits his soldiers is subtle and compelling, equally effective as his inspirational cries preceding the battlefield sequences

Some of the supporting performances are very good, especially from Harcourt Williams as the mad old Charles, Max Adrian as the Dauphin and Leslie Banks as the Chorus (who speaks some of the most poetic speeches not given to Henry). This is one of the few British films of the early forties shot in colour, and the colours are particularly vivid and jewel-like, making the film far more visually spectacular than Branagh's [which is excellent too]. Above all, this film gives the chance to later generations to see one of Britain's finest classical actors, at the peak of his powers, taking the leading role in a Shakespearean drama. For those who would like the read the whole speech.........

WESTMORELAND.

O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

Henry V:

What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.


By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.


But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.


He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day.

Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                           

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Henry V