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Schlock of the old

Screen adaptions of classics face two hazards, says Christopher Tookey. They either follow the original too closely at the expense of the drama, or see the past only through the eyes of the present

Screen adaptations of classic English literature are suddenly in fashion. But are we in for an abridgement too far?

Shakespeare is set for his most prosperous screenwriting year ever. Kenneth Branagh took five years to give us his Henry V and Much Ado. The next 12 months will see him grappling with Iago and Hamlet, while Ian McKellen stars in a modern dress version of Richard III.

Virtually all Jane Austen’s novels seem to be in production or on release, after the BBC’s acclaimed Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, and the global success of Clueless, a Hollywood film comedy which…

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