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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


Why drive 400 miles to see Hamlet in 70mm?

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Ulrich Rostek, Germany Date: 17.08.2013
The Author's Question. Image by Ulrich Rostek

I read it on "in70mm.com" – where else? Kenneth Branagh’s “Hamlet” was to be performed open air at Kronborg Castle, the site Shakespeare’s drama was originally set. And it would be performed in 70mm and 6-track-magnetic-sound – the perfect mean to reproduce Shakespeare’s lines.

Such an event would not happen again in the near future. But for me - living in the Ruhr region in West Germany – Helsingør is not just next door. It would be more than 400 miles to drive. Would it really be worth it for one single movie? On the other hand I like Kenneth Branagh as an actor and director and in the who-is-who cast of "Hamlet" there is no one I would not like to see in a Shakespeare play. Unfortunately I missed the movie at the pictures when it was first released. In Bradford and Karlsruhe the film was performed before I joined the secret community of hard boiled 70mm fans in 2009. And no DVD or BluRay release would meet a real 70mm projection. So why not combining a journey to Denmark - being a white spot on my map so far – with a real outstanding movie show? So I decided to take a short trip to Helsingør followed by a couple of days at Københaven.
More in 70mm reading:

Warum sollte man 700 km fahren um Hamlet in 70mm zu sehen?

”Hamlet” in 70mm at Kronborg Castle

Kenneth Branagh's "HAMLET" on 65mm

2013: A Danish Summer of 70mm

Internet link:

Audience is Waiting. Image by Ulrich Rostek

Kronborg Castle is located close to the city of Helsingor (or Elsinor) on the west coast of Øresund where the sound has its narrowest breadth, and the Swedish coast is only about 2 miles away. The square shaped renaissance building is surrounded by large and strong star shaped fortifications. In the inner court of Kronborg Castle a large screen and the audience’s seatings were installed.

As if it was meant to be a tribute to the drama’s dark atmosphere the sky turned to a lead coloured bluish grey with heavy lightning going down on Helsingborg on the Swedish coast.

In the meanwhile the audience was dripping in and the DP75 was checked – monitored by "Mr. In 70mm" Thomas Hauerslev – the correct projection lens was mounted and the sheet of 70mm film placed in front of the film gate. Ready to go.

After the cloud filtered sunlight vanished, the projector started rolling, letting the brilliant and sharp image of a 70mm projection appear on the screen, the powerful spatial sound of six magnetic track being backed up by the steady chattering of the projector instead of our nowadays digital silence.
Let there be Light. Orla Nielsen by the DP75. Image by Ulrich Rostek

The actors - headed by Kenneth Branagh and the young Kate Winslet - were just brilliant. Derek Jacobi as Hamlet’s uncle Claudius did a great performance as well as Julie Christie in the role of Hamlet’s mother. Even the smallest supporting roles were doped with first class actors and all time stars, giving Jack Lemmon and 70mm veteran Charlton Heston a chance to perform Shakespeare.

Watching the movie next door to the original setting of the drama was an outstanding experience. Although the plot was transferred to the beginning of the 19th century and the exteriors were shot at another place, the pure imagination that the action on the screen might have taken place just behind the castle walls to the left and to the right was nothing less but thrilling.

As a special feature a non scheduled break was added to the show after about one hour. A heavy rain shower made it more and more uncomfortable to join the movie. Here a big cheer to the Hamlet Scenen-team. Leading the soaking wet crowd out of the pouring rain into the dry hospitality of the castle, monitoring the weather, drying up the seats in a hurry and leading the audience back home was a perfect example for a well prepared organization. Thank You!

Four hours of movie watching in wind and weather is a hard piece of work to do. But being a film buff has something to do with passion. We are not here for fun.
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Updated 21-01-24