When Dylan met the Bard: Translating Hamlet from text to screen (sound): Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet

Marina Gerzic


Director Michael Almereyda’s diverse musical choices in the film are a threshold into understanding his cinematic interpretation of Hamlet (2000). Almereyda recontextualises Hamlet in terms of contemporary social problems. Hamlet and Ophelia are confronted with and battle against urban claustrophobia, conspiracy and global corporate power. A fragment of the Bob Dylan song ‘All Along the Watchtower’ (1966) is used as a filmic shortcut to translate Shakespeare’s iconic ‘gravedigger scene’ between Hamlet and the Gravedigger from playtext to screen. ‘All Along the Watchtower’ encapsulates certain ideas about mortality and the worth of life from the ‘gravedigger scene’ and demonstrates these issues still resonate in the contemporary urban world the film is set.


Shakespeare, Hamlet, adaptation, film, music, popular culture, Bob Dylan

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