A technically dazzling adaptation of Shakespeare’s famed play with an aptly overwhelming spacing and a bewilderingly devoted Laurence Olivier in the lead. The film captures the depth of the drama and the wit between the tragic lines, but still remains a tad offish in certain segments. The exclusion of the popular bit characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern might give the film a more ceremonious feel, but the performers are up to the task, with Felix Aylmer and Olivier particularly brilliant. There is understated eroticism between Olivier and Simmons, and the former portrays Hamlet's balance between sanity and madness enticingly. The film is at its best in the middle part, in which there is palpable suspense. Note the humour in the fact that 28-year-old Herlie plays 41-year-old Olivier's mother.