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Mystery Science Theater 3000: Hamlet DVD Review

“MST3K: Hamlet” is an underrated gem.

Prologue: I’m not going to start out by describing the plot of “Hamlet” because everyone should know the story of William Shakespeare’s epic death filled dysfunctional family tragedy. If you’re not familiar with the story, I suggest you get thee to an English class (or at least a library or bookstore).

For many fans, “Hamlet” seemed like a strange choice for the Sci-Fi era of “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” but people forget that the story has a supernatural element to it. And as it turns out, the episode also proved to be great fodder for Mike, Tom, and Crow.

It may seem strange that a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic story could be so bad, but this English dubbed German TV movie version of “Hamlet” is completely lifeless to say the least. The sets are drab, the acting is weak, there’s a seemingly endless amount of close-ups and an apparent lack of editing. In other words, it’s a real stinker that makes for great riffing. You don’t have to be familiar with “Hamlet” or William Shakespeare (though it helps) to enjoy this episode because it boasts some great jokes about everything from the 3 Stooges and “Saturday Night Fever” to the exploding bomb music score and, yes, even MST3K references to “Sleeeeep” and the “Final Justice” episode. Another added bonus is a truly stand-out performance by Bill Corbett who really delivers the laughs with some great joke deliveries (the Riblet, Corpsio, and Schnauzer bits in particular).

Epilogue: “Hamlet” is an essential disc to own for MST3K fans. Hopefully, we will see more single DVD releases in the near future.

Note: This title was originally released by Rhino in the MST3K: Volume 4 DVD set (which is now out of print). Shout! Factory has graciously decided to release “Hamlet” as a single disc DVD available to purchase on their website here: http://www.shoutfactorystore.com/prod.aspx?pfid=5257445


The picture quality expectedly varies in quality. The host segments look sharp, but the  B&W film print is so-so. While it’s not in too bad of shape, there are plenty of scratches and so forth.

As for the audio track, the riffs are as clear as can be, but the movie dialogue is filled with scratchy dialogue and crackles. It can also be hard to hear the actors and actresses at times because of garbled audio.

No extras on this disc.

July 18, 2011 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , ,

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