Henry V


Matt Bracksieck


Trumbull High School

72 Strobel Rd.

Trumbull CT 06611


(fax) 203.452.4516

This clip is from the beginning of Sir Laurence Olivier's production of Henry V.  He filmed this during WWII when England really needed a pick-me-up.  Olivier's uber-patriotic film was just what the doctor ordered.  The model of London in the opening 3 minutes is incredibly detailed and the depiction of the theater experience is fairly authentic as I understand it.  We'll talk about other details in class, but while you view now, watch the crowd.

As you watch this clip and the 2 following, begin to ask yourself: what does the film want you to think about Henry? 

The following questions might help:

  1. Why is the Bishop of Ely mocked by the crowd throughout the 2 scenes?

  2. Why is the long portion of background in 1.2 portrayed so comically?

  3. Why (as presented in the film) do you think Henry goes to war?  Does he want to?  Is he looking for justification?  Is he looking for an excuse?

As you view the next 2 clips, consider the following: 

  1. What is the effect of the lighting and shadows.  What is the film suggesting?

  2. Consider the placement and proximity of the actors in the frame.  Where do you see Henry acting on his own and where do you see him being forced into acting?

  3. Does this henry want to go to war?  When does he decide it's the right thing to do?

Which Henry (the character) do you like better?  Why?