May 15, 2013

Happy Wed. Nice day here. Started out at 19 degrees but will probably get above freezing.

Yokelly we watched a modern version of Hamlet set in NYC, with Ethan Hawke as Hamlet and Julia Stiles as Ophelia. It was pretty good, mostly, with original dialogue, but greatly cut. Hamlet uncut runs about 4 hours on stage, so directors almost always cut out dialogue, shorten soliloquies, truncate subplots, etc. Anyway, the King of Denmark, Hamlet’s uncle Claudius, is a high flying financier who is chauffeured around in a stretch limo with bodyguards. Hamlet wears a suit and carries a gun instead of a sword. Ophelia is a teen whose hobby is photography. She is convincingly bullied by her father Polonius (Bill Murray) and her brother Laertes, who both warn her against having affections for Hamlet because he is in a higher social sphere. Mrs. Hamlet (Gertrude) is a socialite with furs and diamonds.

Despite the obvious changes to make it modern, the play works pretty well as a film. Not for kids, but worth watching, especially if you know the conventional version (the version by Kenneth Branagh is very good). Unfortunately, the reliance on guns weakens the final scene where in the original Hamlet and Laertes duel with swords and several people get poisoned.

Locally we are not undecided. It’s cold, and setting new records around the Interior for the coldest days this time of year. Sez the News-Miner:

Eielson Air Force Base recorded a temperature of 22 degrees Tuesday morning, breaking the record of 26 set in 1954. The College Observatory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks had a low temperature of 21 degrees, which broke the old mark of 24 set in 1964.

In Bettles, 250 miles north of Fairbanks, the low of 11 degrees shattered the record of 22 degrees set in 1986. Galena saw a temperature of 13 degrees, breaking the record of 16 in 1965. The low temperature of 23 degrees at Fairbanks International Airport fell 2 degrees shy of tying the record of 21 set in 1913.


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