Miramax recently put online their “Shakespeare in the Classroom” feature, produced as part of the 1999 film Shakespeare in Love. This is great news for teachers whose VHS copies died long ago. The 45-minute intro to the Bard has the cast doing the heavy lifting, with enough scenes from the film that it’s especially useful for illustrating Romeo and Juliet, though any Shakespeare unit benefits from it. Also, check out how stupid young Ben Affleck looks with that goatee.
Sadly, just the opposite has happened to the great four-hour documentary In Search of Shakespeare (really, four episodes of an hour each). Any copy of it on YouTube is being deleted. It’s worth your time to track down a copy.
One major strain of thought in it is an attempt to show that Will was a closet Catholic, and I have to admit, they marshal quite an impressive bit of evidence for it. I also enjoyed the host–his boyish enthusiasm for every scene really kept me drawn in. In between scenes, too, this film has more beautiful, lush shots of the English countryside than you’d expect from an actual documentary about the English countryside. Just a gorgeous work.