Academe and academy: Kenneth Branagh’s Love’s Labour’s Lost

Wardle, Janice (2017) Academe and academy: Kenneth Branagh’s Love’s Labour’s Lost. Journal of Adaptation in Film & Performance, 10 (2). pp. 153-168. ISSN 1753-6421

[thumbnail of Author Accepted Manuscript]
PDF (Author Accepted Manuscript) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.


Official URL:


This article argues that Kenneth Branagh’s film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost (2000), although not a commercial or a critical success when released, continues to raise issues pertinent to contemporary adaptation studies. By investigating how Shakespeare’s ‘academe’ is represented through the idiom of a different kind of ‘Academy’, that of the Hollywood musical of the 1930s/1940s, we can uncover tensions created by the opposition of high and low culture, and the intermingling of the cinematic and the theatrical. In this film adaptation of a play, the relationship between the cinematic and theatrical is further complicated through the model of the early Hollywood musical, which itself seeks, through its inbuilt conventions, to maintain a connection with live theatre and its community. Although Branagh’s adaptation may be deemed a failed experiment, it is representative, in its exploitation of the interaction between the cinematic and theatrical, of a continuing, complex conversation between the genres, exemplified by the use of cinematic techniques in the theatre, and the broadcasting of live theatre into cinemas.

Repository Staff Only: item control page