The image of the DVD cover for the production of The RSC’s Hamlet has now been released. I’m sure that this will provoke lots of conversations about what the film will be like.
When I first saw the cover, I must admit I was a little disappointed I had thought that the image would have been stronger. I think that I had expected something like the image of David Tennant’s Hamlet wearing the player’s crown or with the skull. The imagery from the theatre production tended to use black backgrounds, which really highlighted the image of the character. I suppose the use of black was because of the difficulty in photographing the mirrored set. The DVD cover seems a massive shift from that first publicity shot that played with Caspar David Friedrich’s The Wanderer turning the figure to face the viewer and referencing back to some of the publicity shots of Tennant as Doctor Who. Of course the original poster image did not represent the aesthetic of the theatre production and the image of Hamlet with the player’s crown became the programme image for the Novello London run. The DVD image uses a much lighter background than the publicity images produced alongside the theatre production and suggests to me a movement away from the look of the theatre production and a slightly different approach to the film.
The image that has been released for the DVD cover still has a focus on Tennant, but the broken glass gives a sense of a fragmented world and a vulnerable young shattered by events. It could be Hamlet reflected in a broken mirror indicating the different facets of his character. I also felt that the image suggested the prison that Hamlet feels he is in as the shards of glass also look like a wire mesh. The glance is not at the viewer but as if the character is watching for something. As Hamlet seems to wear white, I felt that the image might be from the final scene and the fencing match. I suppose, I’ll find out if this is the case when I get to see the film at Christmas.
Of course, like the publicity for the theatre production, the publicity image for the DVD focuses on an image of Tennant despite the production having such a strong cast. The DVD cover feels like it is a picture of Tennant himself with his hair slightly disravelled and unshaven. It is the title alongside the image which does the job of situating the image as one from Hamlet.
To view image go to: http://bit.ly/PfSu1