I was a little more prepared this time round because unlike with Richard II, I'd actually seen this play before. And, perhaps, Prince Hal's story is easier to follow than Richard's because he's a less ambiguous protagonist -- a character you can root for. Richard's flamboyant incompetence was entertaining to watch, but was distinctly unheroic. For all that Richard II was aesthetically pleasing, it didn't have the same gleeful excitement of Henry IV, with its clear-set coming-of-age journey for Prince Hal and its cast of crowd-pleasing comedy sidekicks. Falstaff's constant supply of old-fat-coward jokes may have been designed for an audience of 16th-century drunks, but I'm easily pleased and found him hilarious. (Possibly because I have the spirit of a 16th-century drunk.)
Thor and The Avengers, who despite being a villain is still pretty lovable. I found myself comparing the two, and the one thing that stands out between them is Hiddleston's ability to play royalty. The level of automatic, commanding entitlement both Loki and Hal display is wonderful, although they show it in very different ways.
"...while I wanted it to be set in the period, I wanted it to have some kind of modern feel. Things like Tom’s jackets. And I didn’t want him to have a bowl haircut, I wanted him to have a look that wasn’t just accessible, but attractive. He was in “Avengers Assemble”, for goodness sake! He’s an amazing, beautiful-looking man." -- Thea Sharrock, director of Henry V.The costume designer for Henry IV Part 1 must have taken a very long look at Tom Hiddleston and thought, "What looks good on this guy?" He's tall, he's slim, his performance is very energetic and physical, and they put him in a form-fitting leather jerkin and trousers, with the jacket open at the neck at all times. The result? Large portions of the film are scenes where the camera lovingly caresses Poins and Hal's exposed collarbones as they share drunk LOLs about their latest prank on Falstaff. I think Shakespeare would approve.
I can't wait to see Jeremy Irons in the next play. Towards the end of Part 1 he looked like he was on death's door, grey-faced to match the morbid darkness of his clothes and castle. It was very easy to imagine this Henry as the aging, frustrated continuation of the Henry Bolingbroke we see in Richard II, his gloomy court a direct reaction to the frivolous extravagance of Richard's reign. This play may have been set before the reformation, but King Henry was practically a protestant before his time -- surrounded by rigidly black-mantled courtiers in a huge, empty grey stone throne room with no lit candles, and swaddled up to the chin in thick black furs and scarves. I particularly loved this aspect of Henry's costuming: imposing but not exactly kingly, what with the ratty grey scarves and knit cap.
according to Jeremy Irons, bobble hats were invented for soldiers to wear under their helmets, with the bobble acting as a cushion in the top point of the helmet. I really hope this is true, partly because it's interesting and partly because I want Jeremy Irons to be a secret knitwear expert.
I don't feel like the movie suffered from the seeming absense of Hotspur, though, because this adaptation seemed to focus so closely on Prince Hal's own journey rather than the Hotspur/Henry conflict. If anything, until we reached the final battle Hotspur seemed more like a secondary character than a major antagonist. That battle is also the moment when we finally see Prince Hal begin to harden into something more like his father. Before that he's very emotional -- either joking around with his mates at the tavern, or emoting tragically at the camera because oh boy is Tom Hiddleston good at that. But when we reach the battle with Hotspur and the Northerners, Hal seems to age ten years, finally taking up the burden of kingship.
a tag for it and everything. The armour worn for the Battle of Shrewsbury appealed to me for two reasons: its basic utilitarianism and its relationship, character-wise, with the costumes of last week's Richard II. Although this play takes place a generation after Richard II, in many ways it seems like it's set in an earlier period of history. Richard's court was a place of luxury and beauty, and even his armour was a complex work of art, glistening gold from head to toe. His enemy Henry Bolingbroke, however, was the precise opposite: