Lust, murder, revenge and betrayal reign in director/star Laurence Olivier’s Oscar-winning film version of Shakespeare’s tragic drama, with the acclaimed thespian delivering one of his definitive performances as the tormented Prince of Denmark. Although criticized by Shakespeare devotees upon its initial release because of Olivier’s decision to excise large portions of the original text, his bold cinematic version of Hamlet is widely considered the best out of the numerous (and counting) other attempts to bring this epic story to the screen. Hamlet (Olivier) is a medieval Danish prince who’s still melancholy over the sudden death of his father and the quick, subsequent remarriage of his mother, Queen Gertrude (Eileen Herlie) to his uncle, Claudius (Basil Sydney). Informed by the ghost of his father that Claudius murdered him, Hamlet schemes to take revenge. Unsure how best to proceed, his delays and the horrible secret burdening him eventually lead to the violent snuffing out of several lives in both his own family and that of courtier Polonius (Felix Aylmer), whose daughter Ophelia (Jean Simmons, who received an Oscar nomination for her performance) is in love with Hamlet. Greatly influenced by the radical camera work in Citizen Kane (1941) and by modern, psychological reinterpretations of Shakespeare’s play, Olivier’s masterpiece was the winner of four Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Actor (Olivier), Best Black and White Art Direction/Set Direction and Best Black and White Costume Design. (Dir. by Laurence Olivier, 1948, UK, 155 mins., Not Rated) Digital