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Twelfth Night at the Movies: 1988

After far too long an absence, welcome back to Twelfth Night at the Movies! Today's Twelfth Night comes from 1988 and was directed by Kenneth Branagh, but shockingly, he does not appear onscreen. Almost twenty years have passed since the last installment of this series, but there is still plenty of bad hair in Illyria. Only now, most of it is bad facial hair. There is also lots of snow and angst. And also overuse of the word "rather," but I mostly wrote this five years ago (...whoa, where did the time go?) and can't be bothered to fix it now. Enter if you dare...

Viola and the Captain, who wears the Beard of Doom.

Viola's rather pretty as a girl.


Orsino. Angsting about Olivia. In the snow.

Curio, aka Sebastian with fake moustache and sideburns. *snerks*

Valentine, also with unfortunate fake sideburns.

Maria and Sir Toby. They're cute together.

Sir Andrew being a bit dense about the meaning of "accost."

Maria reacting to "Front her, board her, woo her, assail her." Subtext: "Puh-leeze."

"Wherefore, sweetheart? What's your metaphor?"

Sir Andrew worries about his hair. Just be glad you're not in that other movie, dude.

Sir Andrew cuts a caper!


Orsino and "Cesario." Orsino's Blue Light of Angst infects everything.

Feste with his best friend who is, unfortunately, empty.

Maria is on a Mission.

Feste gives Maria a present. Because it's almost Christmas.

And then he offers to share his other best friend. Maria refuses.

Feste sees Olivia. This movie did nothing to curb my Feste/Olivia tendencies. Also, hair.

Fabian. Or, as I like to call him, Creepy Penguin Fabian. On his way to "take the fool away."

Olivia. I want her cloak. But I'm rather glad I don't have her voice - she squawks a lot.

"Let the botcher mend him." One of the few times Feste looks happy.


OTP! (Or one of 'em, anyway...)

More Olivia/Feste, because... because. Aaaaaaw.

If Sir Toby hadn't entered then, Feste totally would have proposed. And Olivia would have accepted. And there would be no play. How Feste suffers for art!

Sir Toby has a pickle herring problem.

"Good Sir Toby!" Subtext: "I hate my life."

And here is the first instance of someone being Really Really Confused. Viola attempts to deliver Orsino's message.

Gratuitous veil shot! They're sparkly!

Gratuitous veil and chaise longue shot!

Olivia rolls her eyes.

"...of fresh and stainless youth only totally not."

This is Olivia's "falling in love" face.

And this just amused me. She's saying "blazon" here, which is why her face looks so silly, but that's awfully silly.

Viola mocks Malvolio. Go her!

The icon I made from the rest of the ring scene. I love Viola's faces. :D

Sebastian appears out of the mist.

Other OTP! Look, they're touching! And Antonio is played by the Captain, but has no Beard of Doom!

Sebastian was in the middle of batting his eyes here. I swear. He does that rather a lot, actually.

And now Sebastian is sad. Aaaaaaw.

"Pardon me, sir, your bad entertainment. *snort* *chuckle*" *baps Antonio* No mocking Sebastian's angst!

But don't worry, he comforts him, too.

And then gropes him.

And more cuteness.

Sebastian walks away stoically. Kinda. And Antonio gazes adoringly after him.

And decides to follow him. Aaaaaw.

Sir Andrew's snowshoes.

Feste just so happens to have a stoup of wine. He also just so happens to have glasses in his jacket. No, really.

And they all drink in unison. May I just say right now that it makes absolutely no sense for Fabian to be in this scene? So many references to there being three of them... *sighs*

Feste, with a rare facial expression. Here he asks if the others would like a love song.

Tickle attack! Or, Feste tries to scoop up the change that Sir Toby and Sir Andrew threw on the snowy ground. And Sir Toby tries to stop him. Or something.

This is Feste's "These people are idiots" face. I think he's saying, "I shall never begin if I hold my peace."

Fabian boogies to "Hold Thy Peace."

Fabian, Feste, and Sir Andrew sing back-up for Sir Toby.

Sir Toby auditions for Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.

Sir Toby, Maria, Fabian, and Sir Andrew have all forgotten what their true love gave to them on the seventh day of Christmas. And the sixth.

Feste helpfully bursts in with, "Five golden rings!"

And then they play Ring Around The Rosy. While still singing "The Twelve Days Of Christmas," naturally.

Ashes, ashes, they all fall down!

And then they mock Malvolio, who is much deserving of mockage.

And then Feste passes out.

And Sir Toby pets Sir Andrew, thinking this will get him more money.

And Fabian is left to carry off the drunken Fool.

Orsino ruffles "Cesario's" hair. And lo, it was cute.

So, Feste can read palms. Cool.

Viola, her hair still ruffled, angsts.

Orsino angsts back.

Look! It's Fabian! And he's supposed to be there! But he's still creepy.

Maria with her adorable bonnet!

Malvolio "practicing behavior to his own shadow."

"...where I have left Olivia sleeping." "EW!"

The conspirators make bird noises to cover the fact that they're moving a tree. Malvolio notices the bird noises, but not the fact that there is a moving tree right behind him.

The Smile.

"...being addicted to a melancholy as she is..." Way to mock your lady's grief, good Mistress Mary.


Maria doth not care for Sir Andrew's hugs.

And yet she'll leap into Creepy Penguin Fabian's arms.

This shot is all about the trees. Mm, bare trees. And this would be Viola about to be totally confused by Feste.

"I do care for something." This moment is quite good in context, I swear. This Feste does much more with his movements and his voice than with his face.

I don't remember what line this is. But aw, Feste being somewhat silly!

"Now Jove, in his next commodity of hair, send thee a beard." Feste knoooooows...

"My legs do better understand me, sir..." Viola's vocal inflections here were weirdly wonderful.

Olivia spots her prey...

...sweeps down the stairs...

...and pounces!

Viola is rather horrified by the whole thing.

Olivia woos!

Olivia rubs her tummy. She does this a lot. I don't know why, but you shall see more hereafter.

And Olivia pounces again, for real this time! And Viola protects her chest.

Sir Andrew is confused about something. I don't remember what. So much for him to be confused about.

The conspirators are a rather touchy-feely bunch, as if you couldn't tell from all the hugs earlier.

And with a salute, Sir Andrew's doom is sealed.

But don't worry, he has a great idea for a letter!

Maria can hardly forbear hurling things at Malvolio.

Sebastian is very happy to see Antonio again...

...though he's not so sure about that "filed steel" thing.

Sebastian is Serious. But still cute and doofy. Because hey, he's Sebastian!

In a shocking plot twist, Antonio rips off his shirt and reveals himself to be Superman. Or maybe he just takes out his purse.

More tummy-rubbing from Olivia.

Malvolio poses.

The curls kill me. He looks like a Munchkin!

Malvolio takes up ballet.

Sir Andrew has a Letter! And a beautifully ridiculous hat.

And here he mouths along as Sir Toby reads the letter. This moment is rather adorable.

And more tummy-rubbing. I think it's supposed to signify great emotion, or something.

Olivia gives "Cesario" her portrait.

Fabian pokes Viola in the back with a sword as she talks to Sir Toby.

Somehow, Viola accidentally grabs the sword...

...and proceeds to nearly kill both Fabian (too bad she didn't succeed) and Sir Toby.

I don't know what's up with Fabian. Maybe his excessive hair gel leaked into his brain.

Viola is so confused.

More accidental near-death.

And even more. Now Viola, dear, what did Mommy say about flailing about confusedly with a sword in your hands?

At last, quite sensibly, Viola puts down the sword.

Ew ew ew, go away, Creepy Penguin Fabian!

I have completely forgotten what Sir Andrew was saying here. And none of his lines seem to fit. Hm.

Sir Andrew crosses himself.

Yay height gags!

Viola doesn't even try to fight. She just falls to her knees and wails.

And Sir Andrew thinks, "...fencer to the Sophy, huh?"

Antonio to the rescue!

Officer Valentine shows up and is oh so intimidating. (Also, treeeees!)

Antonio is saddened by "Sebastian's" betrayal.

While Sir Andrew and Sir Toby are just confused. And Fabian is just creepy.

Sebastian's turn for confusion!

"Nor this is not my nose, neither!"

And now Sebastian is Exasperated.

I don't know why Feste is so bothered by Sebastian giving him money. Unless it's part of his, "This 'fool' thing is so degrading but I'll do it for Olivia's sake!" thing.

This picture amuses me more than it should.

Sebastian slaps Sir Andrew.

Toldja they were a touchy-feely bunch.

In which Sebastian makes a face almost as amusing as some of Viola's. (You know she always won the funny-face-making contests when they were little.)

Sebastian has a sword and he knows how to use it!

Sir Andrew realizes that Sebastian has stolen his sword...

...and he promptly faints.


Sir Andrew has some parting words for Sebastian. Unfortunately, they are not in the script, so he doesn't get to actually say anything.

Subtext: "Dude, WTF?"

Sebastian notices that a beautiful woman is looking at him rather interestingly.

And that he rather likes it.

Even though she rubs her tummy a lot.

Another tree shot. *g* Maria forcing Feste to dress up as Sir Topas.

Feste kinda looks like Moses or something here.

Malvolio "in a dark room and bound."

Feste angrily throws off his Sir Topas costume. Now, I'm all for Feste being played bitter. It's pretty much in the script. But this scene went over the top a little, I think. He should at least take some sort of sadistic delight in mocking Malvolio - that's pretty much in the script, too. This Feste was just completely bitter and bleak (and in love with Olivia).

Maria, realizing that things may have gone a bit too far, gives Feste money. The camera cuts away before you can see if he takes it or not.

Feste angsts about the jolly robin's unkind lady.

No caps of the second Mocking of Malvolio, as Feste never moves or changes his expression. But I rather liked this shot, closing Malvolio in while singing, "Adieu, Goodman Devil."

Sebastian thinks wistfully of Antonio, who was, alas, not at the Elephant.

"...that I am mad!"

"...or else the lady's mad."

Oh Sebastian, you lovable little doof. Your cuteness almost makes up for Olivia's squawkiness. And Antonio's ugliness. But not Fabian's creepiness.

I love how he's kissing her hand but not taking his eyes off her face.

Olivia would be rubbing her tummy here, if only Sebastian wasn't holding her hands.

Fabian winks at Feste. I don't know why. It's while Feste's talking to Orsino, with the "the better for my foes, and the worse for my friends," thing, but the winking... doesn't make sense. Yes.

Feste looks like he's having fun here, but he's not. He's grovelling and he hates himself for it.

Officer Valentine waves his gun around rather recklessly.

And then gives it to Fabian. Bad move.

Olivia in her wedding dress.

I rather like Valentine's smirk here.

Oo, Orsino's angry now!

And Olivia rubs her tummy.

You're right, Orsino. Nothing gets a woman to love you like telling her that maybe you should kill her.

"Cesario, husband, stay!"


Subtext: "Oh this is so not good."

Creepy Penguin Fabian pokes Sir Andrew's eye. Because that's exactly what you do when someone has a head injury.

Yep, that's a bloody coxcomb, all right.

And, more touchy-feeliness.

Sir Toby being very mean to Sir Andrew. Poor guy.

Sir Andrew has such angst.

Sebastian poses romantically.

And then he's very relieved that his wife doesn't hate him for the bloody coxcomb incident.

And then he sees Antonio!

I wish there was a clearer shot of this, because that hug is so. darn. cute. Lookit that grin!

Nope, no slash here!

"Fear'st thou that, Antonio?"

"Well, yeah."

And this would be Olivia's, "...girl...eheheheheh...oh dear..." face.

Twin Cuteness, Part 1.

Twin Cuteness, Part 2! Notice that there are no screencaps from Orsino and Viola declaring their love. Because that was distinctly boring and un-cute in this version.

Sebastian smiling apologetically at Antoino. Or sharing a little smirk with Viola. Either way, cuteness!

Olivia discusses her "most extracting frenzy." Ah, so that's what was wrong with her tummy!

Feste sees Viola.

Feste sees Sebastian.

Feste attempts to make it all make sense to himself.

"You must allow vox!" "No, actually, I don't." Alas, poor Feste.

Oh, like Fabian's reading is so much better. Also, Sir Andrew is still quietly angsting in the corner.

Still not very cute. Sorry, guys.

This pair is rather cuter, but it has that squawking problem.

Malvolio. For some reason he reminds me of a teddy bear in this scene.

Feste doesn't look too happy about "the whirligig of time."

Fabian mid-bow, off to "pursue him, and entreat him to a peace."


Viola doesn't look too happy about that kiss, does she?

And still not very happy.

Woohoo, now she can't squawk!

And at least someone's happy here.

More Sir Andrew angst.

And even more, complete with bloody coxcomb.

Fabian pays Feste. I have no idea why.

"Hey! Loverboy! Forget someone?"

Officer Valentine takes pity on Antonio and unlocks his handcuffs.

Feste contemplates the door which has closed on his One True Love.

And then decides to leave and lock himself out, the better to display his angst. The end.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 4th, 2010 05:20 am (UTC)
EEW ANTONIO EEEEW :(((( DNW THAT. But awww, doofy Sebastian! And Viola, who maybe even cuter than Stubbs' Viola because she can pull off boyish sans stache. And Orsino here either looks like Kevin Kline's Bottom or his Jaques. Probably a little bit of both. Kevin Kline with long hair and a beard, anyway. Also, what is up with the rubbing? (Not sure what "exacting frenzy" means, and unhelpful footnotes are unhelpful.)


Oct. 4th, 2010 05:36 am (UTC)
*cracks up* Love the macro! And yeah, poor, ugly Antonio. At least Sebastian doesn't seem to mind. (My edition says "my own most mind-withdrawing madness." I guess that works.)
Aug. 3rd, 2016 03:13 am (UTC)
I think I've got a bit of a problem when I love this version of the film more than the Nunn version. XD Well...okay. There were certain aspects of this version (Sir Toby and Sir Andrew, because the two Jameses were the greatest comic duo out there, Feste in all of his drunken, depressed, bitter, cynical, short Gypsy glory, awkward fake-Cockney Fabian, some of the stagings, cute and goofy Sebastian, Briers's Malvolio, etc) that I liked more, but this little low-down is an absolute gem. It's so bloody accurate, and hilarious to boot!

For the record, I actually hated this Antonio; I didn't think that Tim Baker (was that his name?) did the part justice, and greatly preferred Nicholas Farrell (and no, I didn't like him more because I found him attractive. I found Ben Kingsley attractive, too, though Anton Lesser was more so, and adorable, besides. I have weird tastes in men.); that being said, I didn't precisely think him UGLY. Just...awkward. :)

Speaking of awkwardness, Fabian took the cake there. Shaun Prendergast...good Lord. I don't know where he dug up that horrid Cockney accent, and frankly, I don't WANT to know. High-voiced, mousy spitfire Maria was quite nice, though...but I agree completely regarding Olivia's squawking. That was irritating on so many levels.

I wish I shipped Olivia/Feste, because this production made it plainly obvious that THERE WAS SOMETHING THERE, DAMMIT! Unfortunately, I ship Viola/Feste, which...well, I suppose it could be applicable here, if you're into angry pseudo-hate sex. In any case, I LOVE this version, and I love this screen cap set. Well done, you. :D
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )