12 thoughts on “TBT: Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

  1. Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, men were deceivers ever ...

    Oh I love this movie so much. I had been working at the SoCal faire for a few years by the summer this came out, and I still remember the day a group of faire friends and I all piled into the theater to see it. We were just mesmerized. I think it may be the only time I’ve ever loved Michael Keaton in anything (or at least been able to take him seriously as an actor) – Dogberry became the inspiration for a lot of friends’ improv after that. I never really thought about the costumes much, though, and I guess that’s the point – they really do get out of the way and just let the story be told.

    (Sorry, but I love the scene with Don John all oiled up, especially when he jumps up and starts angrily chewing on his lines. :) Keanu was my big crush through the 90’s, and the unspoken ‘dude’ through that whole scene was so camp.)

  2. I adore this movie. I’m amazed I didn’t notice these costume details when I’ve seen the movie so many times, but as Barbara said, I guess that was the point!

    Much Ado is my favorite Shakespeare play, and it may have something to do with seeing this movie at the right age! (Though I like Nathan Fillion as Dogberry in Joss Whedon’s recent Much Ado much better than Michael Keaton’s Dogberry in this one.)

    I love Emma Thompson in this so much. She’s so sun drenched and teasing and hilarious and wonderful. And Benedick and that folding chair! This movie can make me laugh every time. Oh, I feel happy just thinking about it! Guess I’m due for a rewatch!

    1. I felt – and still feel – Keaton just didn’t ‘get’ Dogberry at all, one of the few glaring mistakes in direction in the whole film. Fillion was wonderful in the role, so pompous and conceited about his status and authority.

  3. “Cartridge pleading on this lady’s skirt” – this lady is Imelda Staunton, and is excellent in every role she plays, either stage or screen. She’s probably best known as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films but I would recommend her as Vera Drake in the film of the same name.
    And as for Denzel W. in this, swoon time indeed! I love Shakespeare, either live or on-screen, am never really bothered by whatever costumes are worn, it’s the words that matter. I loved this film.

  4. Thank you for pointing out the stuff you like in the costuming. I’m having trouble looking past one of my major peeves, underbust corsets. I’m a big fan of supported breasts.

  5. Imelda Staunton’s character is Margaret, Hero’s (Kate Beckinsale’s) maid. She’s pretty scuffed-up in this film, but since part of the plot hinges on Claudio mistaking her for Hero in an, um, indiscreet moment, the near-interchangeable costumes are definetly an asset to the plot.

  6. I love this version, but I did have problems with the non-period specific costumes. Then I saw Denzel in the tight leather pants and drooled and The saw Ken in the same. more drooling I think I needed more Kleenex, but I could do without the Claudio. The character is dense, stupid and I feel sorry for Hero.

    I love Emma Thompson in this. Ken and her pairing were hot.

  7. This is that film of which Anthony Lane memorably said, “there are times when what you really want from Shakespeare is Denzel Washington in leather pants.”

  8. Denzel Washington in tight leather pants is one more sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

  9. Love this film, one of Ken’s best. The costume detail analysis is really interesting; to me it said ‘out of time’, which works for the plat as far as I am concerned. I once directed it as a school play and put all the boys into tight trousers like that – they were peacocking all over the school in them.

    Minor point – you miscaptioned Leonato as Antonio in one picture. Both have beards, but Brian Blessed is the one who speaks LIKE THIS.

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