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The Top 10: Shakespeare rewrites

From ‘Forbidden Planet’ and ‘Ten Things I Hate About You’ to ‘The Lion King’...

John Rentoul
Saturday 18 June 2016 12:17 BST

Andrew Denny suggested this Top 10, inspired by the first on the list.

1. Forbidden Planet, the 1956 science fiction film, a reworking of The Tempest. The first film to feature a score using entirely electronic music, says Paul T Horgan.

2. The Lion King. It’s Hamlet, with lions (and a meerkat and a warthog), and without quite so many deaths. Thanks to Alex Smith, Wallenstein and Isabel.

3. West Side Story was too obvious, but I accepted nominations for more obscure versions of the Romeo and Juliet story. The Twelfth of July, by Joan Lingard, was set in Belfast: “Kevin is a Catholic who falls for Sadie, a Protestant, with fairly familiar (but not so tragic) results”, says Vic Johnstone. In fact they flee to England and marry in later books in the series.

4. Ten Things I Hate About You. I thought Tam Pollard was suggesting another Top 10, but no: the similarity with The Taming of the Shrew was also noted by Stair at the Sky, Colin Gumbrell and Pat Stone.

5. Throne of Blood (Macbeth), The Bad Sleep Well (Hamlet) and Ran (Lear), by Akira Kurosawa. Nominated by John Peters, Chris Jones and Gary Lidington. ‏

6. ‏Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett’s sixth Discworld novel, throws the same three plays, Macbeth, Hamlet and Lear, “into a cauldron and stirs, with the Bard reimagined as a Dwarf”, says Tom Joyce.

7. She’s the Man. Girl pretends to be her brother so she can get into the boys’ soccer team. Twelfth Night. Thanks to Sarah.

8. Gordon Brown's political career. There is always one. This week it is James, “Investor Bod”.

9. Chimes At Midnight, written and directed by, and starring, Orson Welles. Released in the UK as Falstaff (Chimes of Midnight), gave us a bit of Henry IV Parts I and II with a bit of Henry V as well as some Richard III and The Merry Wives of Windsor. According to Gary Lidington and Gabriel Milland.

10. Kiss Me Kate, music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The Taming of the Shrew again. Thanks to Rob Corp, Pat Stone and Allan Holloway.

Next week: Compound Names in Which Every Word is Untrue, such as Socialist Workers Party and Holy Roman Empire

Coming soon: Dictionary of Notional Biography Entries, such as Tetanus Booster, the southern US Senator

Your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, in the comments please, or to me on Twitter, or by email to Listellany: A Miscellany of Very British Top Tens, From Politics to Pop, is available as an e-book for £3.79

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