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Episode guide: 1009- Hamlet

Movie: (1961) A dour production of Shakespeare’s play produced for German TV. A prince returns home for his father’s funeral and doesn’t like what he finds.

First shown: June 27, 1999
Opening: Tom Servo is now Htom Sirveaux
Intro: Crow has a name change too; Mike interrupts Pearl’s plan with Three Card Monty — which she loses, allowing Mike to pick the movie
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom’s plan to be the ghost of one of Mike’s dead relatives quickly unravels
Host segment 2: Crow and Tom give Mike a preview of their percussion version of “Hamlet
Host segment 3: Time once again to play “Alas Poor Who?”
End: Crow and Tom show off their Hamlet action figure, with real soliloquy action; in Castle Forrester, a snotty Fortenbras demands his due
Stinger: Claudius does a double take
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (314 votes, average: 3.23 out of 5)

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• I’m going to come right out and say that this episode is not nearly as bad as its reputation. Yes, the movie is particularly dour, but Kevin, in his comments on this one, is right: You can’t hurt this thing no matter how hard you try. As happens every time I see this one, I got drawn in to the classic tale, which for me was made all the more fun by the overlay of some pretty solid riffing. The host segments, aren’t bad either. I know plenty of you can’t wait to start trashing this one, but I’m not on board. That said, I don’t have a lot else to say about this one.
• Kevin’s thoughts are here.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 4.”
• Callback in the opening host segment: “You think you can take me? Go ahead on.”
• I like segment 1 a lot. It’s fun, fast and it’s over quick. Really liked it even more this time.
• Segment 2, on the other hand, is a pretty good example of the more-clever-than-funny segment. Clearly they wanted to say something about the many many avant garde stagings of Hamlet, and they did say something, but I’m not sure it added up to a comedy sketch.
• Yes, that’s an uncredited Ricardo Montalban doing the voice of Claudius and John Banner of “Crash of the Moons” and “Hogan’s Heroes” doing the voice of Polonius. Happily, the Brains noticed. They made two John Banner jokes and one Montalban reference.
• Segment 3, feeling very season two-ish, goes on a little long. But it’s a cute idea.
• Kevin is hilarious as Fortinbras in the end bit.
• Cast and crew roundup: Nobody involved in making this movie worked on any other MSTed movie.
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike.
• Fave riff: “Hamlet faxed me a sililoquy!” Honorable mention: “Nice play, Shakespeare.”

239 comments to Episode guide: 1009- Hamlet

  • 1
    swh1939 says:

    I’m the one who actually likes this episode. I know I’m in the minority. I’ve watched Hamlet several times in anticipation of this review to determine what is it about this episode that I so adore but other people find so repulsive. Yes, the print is ugly and the sound is marginal, but that can be said with so many episodes of MST3K. As a production of Hamlet, it’s got plenty of faults and as pointed out there are moments left out. But there is enough there to follow the plot lines. The riffs, in my opinion, have the usual wide range. For the Shakespeare aficionados there’s plenty of in-jokes, but not enough to overwhelm. The other riffs, again in my opinion, make me laugh — audibly, when I’m alone (a true rarity). I’ve shown this episode to dozens of people and they all enjoy it so it truly surprised me to find out that most of the fan base consider this the worst episode of the entire series. Spotting Ricardo Montalban’s voice as well as John Banner’s for me gives a bit of a comfort zone, and perhaps that’s a factor I have that most don’t. Some of my favorites include “RunDMC-Everett Koop”, “Cut to the ghost … the GHOST”, “We’re out of ear poison”, and Crow’s early anticipation of the famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy as soon as Hamlet himself is seen for the first time. Well everyone, hate it if you must, but I for one — probably the only one — have this episode in my top five all-time favorites.

    Nice play, Shakespeare.

       15 likes

  • 2
    robot rump! says:

    this one just goes to show that reinventing classical theater is just one of the many things that Germans shouldn’t do but go ahead on anyway. and now ‘i’m gonna release the Great Dane…’

       0 likes

  • 3
    GregS says:

    Yeah, I’m with Sampo on this one. Definitely a solid offering. Hamlet is my favorite Shakespeare play, and the dreary presentation only makes me laugh all the more at MST3K’s treatment; after all, you don’t really want to stare at the “abandoned power plant” set design!

    Fav line: Htom, why don’t you Hlick me… (or something like that!)

       4 likes

  • 4

    Nope, this is one that proves the “cheesier the movie the better” rule. It’s sooooo boring (and not really a bad movie, just “Hamlet”, for goodness sake’s, and I’m an English and Theater Arts major) that the riffing is not only not that funny, but seems to make the movie even more boring to me. This was an interesting, but failed experiment (that apparently the RT people never learned from).

    It’s not that it’s painful to get through this one — it just puts me to sleep. I find if I am watching it at the dinner table (where we watch a lot of them) I start reading and only look up from time to time. It’s the only way I can get through it without *actually* falling asleep (which I do if we start this in the bedroom or living room).

    Worst. Episode. Ever.

       1 likes

  • 5
    Bobby 23-Skidoo says:

    Well, at least when the Germans are doing this they can’t be up to any mischief.

       7 likes

  • 6
    robniles says:

    What’s worse than clowns? Danish clowns!

    I love this one as well. More than any of the other post-Merlin episodes, in fact. Granted, aside from the film being turgid and underlit, the riffing seems a little sparse and the guys lob some real softballs throughout (but then they also hit pure gold at times, such as the Run-DMC line). Maybe I just love the unlikely juxtaposition of M&TB vs. Shakespeare and the way they pretty much assume everyone knows the play and dive right in, rather than getting hung up on the story. All I know is that they had me from “I don’t think so, breeder!” to the stiffest, minciest fencing match I’ve ever seen, topped off with Fortinbras getting his due. Not to everyone’s tastes, but right up my particular alley. And now I kind of wish I’d chosen Condom Hat as my username. Four stars.

       2 likes

  • 7
    MPSh says:

    Danish Clowns: the damp, smelly, silverfish-infested basement of the clown world.

       3 likes

  • 8
    Fart Bargo says:

    This one is on my ten worse list. I have no qualms with the gang trying something different nor Shakespeare. It’s just that the sheer dreariness just overwhelms even the best riffing. The edited cuts do not help in the least. In comparison, Screaming Skull is a merry jaunt through Pee Wee’s Playhouse. This one is a three for me, barely.

    I’m not sure but I always wondered if this was some sort of slap to ‘SyFy’ , sort of ‘Fight the Power!’ show? If anyone has any insight on this I would appreciate the dish, thanks.

       2 likes

  • 9
    rcfagnan says:

    AWESOME episode, probably my favorite of season 10. I didn’t really feel that way until after it had come out on dvd and I had taken a Shakespeare course in college. That said, love the HS and riffing. Fave riffs: “What’s worse than clowns? DANISH CLOWNS! Danish clowns: the damp, smelly, silverfish-infested basment of the clown world.” And “Danish rapper Notorious K.I.N.G.” And, of course, “To be or not to be, the verbal equivalent of *hums Beethoven’s 5th (?)*”

       2 likes

  • 10
    Rich says:

    We all recognized Ricardo Montalban but I never in a million years would have known John Banner.

       0 likes

  • 11
    Rich says:

    I need to reply to what “swh1939″ posted. It’s not repulsive- it’s more like digging through tons of earth and never finding that diamond.

       2 likes

  • 12
    Creepygirl says:

    I admit when this episode was played until the end of the run on Sci-Fi I could not get thru it. I watched it on DVD for the first time a year ago and found it better than I remembered. I won’t be watching it again any time soon but I don’t hate it.

    3 stars.

       1 likes

  • 13
    ck says:

    Like Creepygirl I found this excruciating the first
    time it was on the SciFi Channel. But there’s something
    endearing about what seems to be a German PBS-type
    station doing Hamlet, and Mad Max over the top emoting
    that makes it interesting to watch. And Ophelia is
    easy on the eyes Grin .

    Probably the strongest criticism of the production is that
    for some strange reason they cut out the small but crucial
    role of Fortinbras. Go figure Shock .

       1 likes

  • 14
    klisch says:

    This was just a poor choice of a movie or is it a play to do MST with. I tried watching it the other night but lasted about 11 minutes before my mind wandered and I went to do something else. This is just wretched, atrocious, detestable, unpleasant, odious, rotten, and loathsome. I think I’ve made my point.

       2 likes

  • 15
    Graboidz says:

    Simply awful…..the worst episode of the series. Dreary movie, sub-par riffing…just blah. It’s like watching a high school production on public TV shot at night…through a sock. Even top notch riffing couldn’t save this one.

    I would have much rather the Brains tackled the Mel Gibson version than this dreary drek.

       3 likes

  • 16
    GizmonicTemp says:

    I have to rate this low simply because there are SO many other films they could have riffed. Why not Killers from Space or Wasp Woman??? Personally, I think Dimentia 13 would have fit PERFECTLY into this time of the show, what with Devil Doll being so cool.

    However, Alas, Poor Who? is classic host segment excellence!!

       3 likes

  • 17
    GizmonicTemp says:

    Bobby 23-Skidoo #5 – Naaaaah!! That young guy with the mustache is a fiery speaker, but he’ll never amount to much.

       0 likes

  • 18
    Emily says:

    Count me in as one of those people who could not bear the episode on the SciFi Channel, but grew fond of it via DVD. It’s definitely not a favorite, but I will watch it for fun sometimes, as a few of the riffs still make me crack up. And I’ve come to enjoy the host segments even more over the years, as well (though that can be said of almost any episode).

    True story: I showed this episode to a few friends in college, all of whom had already seen MST3K before. Most of them hated it, and one girl refused to watch another episode. However, the ONE friend who genuinely enjoyed it is the only one of them I’m still friends with to this day. (I’m pretty sure it’s unrelated to the episode—but birds of a feather, you know.)

       0 likes

  • 19
    Laura says:

    I actually like this episode. It’s the only version of Hamlet that I will watch. Why bother when it’s not being ripped apart by a man and two puppets? Wink

       4 likes

  • 20
    Rob says:

    I’ve always considered this a pretty middling offering, not awful, but not very high on my list when I’m deciding which episode to watch. I personally don’t think it has much “rewatchability,” as I’ve only seen it maybe 3 times since the series went off the air.

    On another note, I don’t know the story behind why Kevin (Murphy) refers to “Alas, Poor Who?” as a “series-canceling sketch” in the online episode guide. I’ve been a fan for quite a while, and I always thought that they knew that season 10 would be their last, so I don’t understand what he’s referring to. Anybody know?

       0 likes

  • 21
    Colossus Prime says:

    For starters; I love Hamlet. It is a truly awesome play which makes me enjoy this episode all the more. Yes the production itself is dreary, but the story is so epic. Murder, sacrifice, revenge, madness, love, it’s all there. And because of its timeless greatness I can focus all my opinions on the host segments and quality of riffs. Smile

    The opening is just a nice little bit that is perfectly Servo, or is it Sirveaux? The follow up of Cröe is fun if simply for Mike’s silly response of, “I’ll purse your beak.” Leading into another great example of how simple minded Pearl is and how lovable Bobo is. And again we get the transitive facial expression of Mike staring Pearl down and the bots following suit.

    The ghost of Mike’s father isn’t bad but it does run a bit dry. It is silly how many of Mike’s obscure relatives (and their friends) Tom is familiar with and seeing the bots moving beneath the sheet is entertaining. The alternate versions of Hamlet is a little funny but still not great. Sampo, you summed it up perfectly.

    “Alas Poor, Who?” however is a fantastic bit. “I am a small robot who lives with you,” is such an unexpected response when usually they’d make up something silly. The whole production of it, canned laughter and all that, is thoroughly entertaining.

    The start of the closing with the Hamlet action figure is a bit slow, leading to bits about things and rooms lying about the satellite as well as Pearl disposing of Fortinbras. I love Kevin’s bit about interjecting the character into American Buffalo. And how awesome is Pearl’s, “Well hey! There’s a body.” She conveys such a perfect amount of annoyance.

    The riffing is just awesome and settles the, “you can riff anything,” idea put forth again by the Casablanca Rifftrax. Also with it being such a great story it allows them to be more silly and fun with their riffs, unlike last week when they were quite mean towards a disgusting movie.

    SIDE NOTE: Any fans of Hamlet need to check out a song called Screamager by Therapy? (yes they have a “?” at the end of their name) and then check out Hey There Ophelia by MC Lars. The first is so you can have better appreciation for the latter.

    Favorite riffs:
    Tom singing Night Fever

    Tom: Scrooge! Oh, wrong story.
    (They’ve done this joke often over the years and I always love it)

    Hamlet: To be, or not to be?
    Mike: The verbal equivalent of, “Duh, duh, duh, duuuuh.”

    Tom: [Halfway through the “To be, or not to be” speech] Sum up!

    Tom: What’s worse than clowns? Danish clowns.
    Crow: Danish clowns; the damp, smelly silverfish infested basement of the clown world.
    (Note: this makes two clown jokes two episodes in a row)

    Claudius: What if…? [looking at his right hand]
    Mike: No, that would be like the fifth time today.

    Crow: [As Ophelia succumbs to madness] She’s trying to Section 8 her way out of the movie.

    Crow: Loosertes
    Tom: Craplet

    The continued, “Cut his throat in a church,” jokes.

       4 likes

  • 22
    Tim S. Turner says:

    Sorry, but other than “City Limits” and “Escape 2000″, this is my least favorite episode. I just can’t get through it. Self-indulgent to say the least.

       1 likes

  • 23
    ducksoup says:

    Bottom 10 TV shows I’d rather watch than sit through Hamlet again.

    10: Full House
    9: The Ropers
    8: Married With Children
    7: Cop Rock
    6: Step By Step
    5: Webster
    4: Mama’s Family
    3: Cavemen
    2: Alf
    1: Joanie Loves Chachi

       2 likes

  • 24
    Sitting Duck says:

    Count me as another who enjoys this episode and thinks it deserves a lot more hotpad love.

    A query regarding the actress who portrays Ophelia. In the This Date in MSTory, when her name pops up in the deaths, she’s listed as having died at the age of 23. But the cause of death is never given.

    I’ve heard some fairly convincing arguments that Hamlet as a Skakespeare play is a bit overrated. A possible reason as to why it gets trumpeted as the Best Shakespeare Play Ever is because the lead protagonist is the sort of angsty, ineffectual loser which literary types seem to adore.

    Favorite riff: “You cut off my nipple, you jerk!”

       2 likes

  • 25
    Dark Grandma of Death says:

    “Lights.” “Camera! Soliloquy!”

    I was going to give a long, impassioned defense of Hamlet, but I’m just too tired, and I doubt it would change anyone’s opinion anyhow.

    I thought the host segments were lots of fun, particularly the last one, when Fortinbras shows up demanding to be included; Kevin did a great job, and Observer’s “He made me look butch!” pushes it right over the edge. Seems as if the Brains had lots of fun tackling Hamlet.

    So are the people who hate this episode bored by it, or do they feel that Shakespeare is somehow sacred? Either way, keep in mind that it’s just one episode out of 176 (not counting the KTMA eps). Really, folks, it’s just an episode…you should really just relax. The genius of MST is that they used a variety of movie genres. 1950s B movies, propaganda flicks, teen crime dramas, sword and sandal epics…they had something for everyone. This is just one more example of a bad movie ripe for the riffing.

    I can understand that people may not enjoy Hamlet, but that doesn’t mean it’s the “worst…episode…ever.” As with all MST eps, it comes down to personal taste, and what works for the individual. Now if this one doesn’t work for you, okay; I promise you that if you’re ever visiting, I won’t make you watch it, as long as you don’t make me watch Sidehackers.

    Fave riffs: “Yeah, go a LOT to England!”
    (Crow, during Gertrude’s toast): “Whatever!”
    “Is there a word in the English language he hasn’t said?”
    “Okay, die now! Boo! You’re dead!….Oh, come on!”

       2 likes

  • 26
    Gary Bowden says:

    For me,it’s so so.It has its moments,but it’s not up to par as say Werewolf.I give it 2 and a half.I’d much rather for them to have tackled FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER or another Ed Wood movie than this.Maybe I need to go watch it again,but then again,maybe not..Can’t decide quite just yet.

       0 likes

  • 27
    trickymutha says:

    Any series that mocks or reflects popular culture and our collective mores must have a Hamlet episode. Like beloved Star Trek, or The Simpsons, MST checks in with their contribution. Fans who call this dark and dreary need only to watch “Giant Leeches” “Monster a go-go” or other offerings. I find this episode refreshing and clever, and if I were a high school English teacher I would make this episode a yearly event. The Ted Stevens (“NO”) reference in host segment three is precious. Two closing remarks- I just watched “Judgment at Nuremberg” on TCM with Maximilian Schell- a man I consider to be a pretty decent actor, as did the academy that year. To see him mocked in this 2nd rate cheese ball is worth the time. Secondly, I admit I have always had a crush on Dunja Movar, who played Ophelia. She was as fair skinned as a child, beautiful flowing hair- and a tragic figure who died young like her character. As Ray Davies said “Celluloid Heroes never feel any pain, celluloid heroes never really die”- thanks Brains for a ***** episode!

       3 likes

  • 28
    Papsmear says:

    This episode sucked and swallowed.

       2 likes

  • 29
    Son of Bobo says:

    This episode sticks out in my mind, because it aired on the day, when without warning, my Dad would have to be rushed to the hospital and would die a few hours later. In shock, in grief, that night I returned home. I always taped the show while watching it. It would be to much for me to watch MST, but I didn’t even bother taping it (a first.) So I caught this the second time around, wondering if it would have helped me through that first night with my Dad gone. Would it have brought a little joy to the saddest time in my life?
    Seeing this black and white film with really white people dressed in black, I think I would have been more melancholy. Praying and crying was absolutely the way to go that night.
    I didn’t watch this again until many years later, and I have to say it has grown on me. Except for segment two, which I can’t decide if it went too far or not far enough, the host segments are very good and the riffing is solid. It was a nice change of pace and I think an experiment that the Brains took on as a challenge.
    Some fans hate most of the black and white films, (notice CT has done only one black and white) and I think some fans want a monster, a spaceship, etc. Put the two together and for many I think they consider it unwatchable.
    I was surprised for the fencing scene that they didn’t have a callback to Final Justice. I would have loved Hamlet saying, “You think you can take me? Well, go head on. It’s yer move.”
    Fave riff: “Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Patti LaBelle!”

       3 likes

  • 30
    I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    5 stars. of course. Subject film + riffing + host segments.

    an MSTour-de-force.

    more later.

       3 likes

  • 31

    “Hamlet will return in Thunderball!”

    I like this ep, too.

       4 likes

  • 32
    Stefanie says:

    I thought this episode was funny. The intro is one of the most hilarious and brilliant bits in the entire show’s history!! Pearl says she can kill HALF the world’s population, and Mike just ingores her declaration and tells her to find the lady! I crack up every time!

       2 likes

  • 33
    Mela says:

    It’s not one I hate, but it has one fatal flaw, which is in no way the fault of MST3k. While my old friend (a Theater major) and I (an English Lit major with some passing theater experience) were watching this again last year, it hit us – this just wasn’t a good adaptation. A lot of it is the staging (it’s so dim and half-heartedly “abstract”, and a lot of the physical acting of the German players is very flat), while not everyone on the dubbing end really gave it their all – and Shakespeare DEMANDS your all. I think it’s this realization that makes Segment 2 such a delight – this production of “Hamlet” is as bad in its own way as the most ridiculously over-the-top avant garde production. The most telling moment, for us at least, was Ophelia’s pathetic “insanity”, which any other actress would relish as a license to chew scenary and get praised for it.

    The riffs are hit or miss, but when they hit, they’re good & quotable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used a variation of “She’s trying to Section 8 her way out of the movie” to describe a bad performance. So while it’s not the worst episode ever like others claim, it’s one I’ll watch but nowhere near as regularly as my favorites.

       1 likes

  • 34
    JimmyBruce says:

    The dubbing is so horrible I couldn’t make out what they were saying which meant the riffs were all going over my head. Or is it I’m not intelligent enough to enjoy Shakespeare? Whatever the case may be after watching a segment of Hamlet, I quickly got the bad taste out of my mouth and watched Squirm. Then all was right in the world.

       1 likes

  • 35
    Smirkboy says:

    I loved this episode so much I made mp3’s out of the audio track and played it at work telling coworkers this was a “Play on Record”. It took almost three minutes for some of them to catch on and then they wanted to hear the whole thing.

    “King Richard Thompson!” “Hold me elongated Phil Collins”
    “Larry Moe and Horatio.”

       0 likes

  • 36
    Captain Crouton says:

    Hamlet is worse than Monster A Go-Go, worse than The Screaming Skull, worse than Castle of Fu Manchu, and worse than The Starfighers. This one was THE worst.

       2 likes

  • 37
    Edge10 says:

    The only real problem that I have with the movie is the sound. You just can’t understand a word that is coming out of their moufs. Gotta love Ricardo Montalban as Claudius.

       1 likes

  • 38
    Spector says:

    I’ll give ‘em credit for trying but quite frankly it was a mistake for them to tackle Shakespeare. Perhaps if they’d found one which was performed badly, that would’ve made it a funnier episode, but as Sampo noted, you can drawn into the story, which is of course amongst The Bard’s best, and the riffing suffers as a result. Two stars out of five.

       0 likes

  • 39
    incrediblehorriblemrlimpet says:

    Favorites:

    Crow: “Ladies and gentlemen: Patti Labelle!”
    “Stop him, Francisco!” (Crow: “He’s headed to the Ladies room!”)
    Mike: (as the ghost) “Let us to brunch”.
    Crow: (as the ghost) “I’m on my way to a costume party. I’m going as Rosalind Russell”.
    Crow: (as the ghost) “I’ve got a bit of the flu”.
    The classic “whoopie cushion” sound as Claudius kisses Gertrude’s hand.

       3 likes

  • 40
    Shinola says:

    I’m not crazy about this episode, but I’ll watch it from time to time. I enjoy the host segments more than movie segs.

       0 likes

  • 41
    Fart Bargo says:

    Duck@24-If I remember correctly, she committed suicide. Boy, this movie just continues the buzz kill.

       1 likes

  • 42
    Yipe Striper says:

    i have never gotten through this episode.

    i am guilty.

    but i must say in my own defense… i’ve never sat down to watch this episode with the time to give it its just deserves.

       0 likes

  • 43
    Smoothie of Great Power says:

    I enjoy this episode as it helps cure my insomnia every single time. It and Mad Monster are the only episodes that have put me to sleep while watching ‘em.

    Though, being a fan of running gags, I love the “Cut his throat in a church!” bit.

       0 likes

  • 44
    GizmonicTemp says:

    ck #13 – My wife has fourteen bras.

       1 likes

  • 45
    Roman Martel says:

    This is one that gets regular rotation in our house. My wife and I are both fans of Shakespeare, and obviously fans of MST3K and its really a combination of things we love.

    This is a horrible production of “Hamlet”. As others have mentioned it’s dreary, badly lit, badly designed, badly acted, badly dubbed, and badly paced. It’s just rotten through and through. And what is MST3K’s mission? To make fun of bad movies. Folks, you’ve got a real stinker here.

    All of that by itself would make this amusing to watch, and I think that I’d be riffing it myself about five minutes in. But with Mike and bots onboard things work really well. I saw an arguement that a lot of the riffs are based off the langauge, but when I watched it last week I have to say that many of them are based on visuals. The king’s half baked look, the ghost and his fabulous wardrobe, the costumes and set get constant riffing. So Mike and the bots really feed of the visuals as well as the dialogue.

    I really don’t understand the hate for this episode. I can understand if you don’t like it. But a lot of comments are really harsh. Is it the fact that you hold Shakespeare sacred, or that you dislike Shakespeare so much that anything related to it is automatically the opposite of enteraining? I’m curious.

    Anyway, I really enjoy the episode. I wish some of the riffing was a little more frequent, there are a few opportunities that seem to get by. I’m also not fond of the ghost of Mike’s father sketch and the alternative Hamlet sketche goes on too long (but love “Alas Poor Who?”). So I can’t give this top marks.

    But I will give it four Danish Clown Skulls out of five.

       2 likes

  • 46

    For me, this one is right down there with Mad Monster and The Indestructible Man.

       0 likes

  • 47
    Shenny says:

    This ep has always been one of my favorites. I love how they make fun of the Elizabethan language. As soon as I heard Mike say “Unstaple yourself!” I knew this would be a good episode. Yeah it’s dreary but they make good fun of the dreariness (“I stuck a fork in the outlet”).

       1 likes

  • 48
    Clu Gulager says:

    I will say I used to hate this episode back when it originally aired. Even after new episodes stopped being made and the repeats were on every Saturday morning i still watched religiously. That is unless, I tuned in, saw Mike doing the 3 card monte bit and I knew I would have to find something else to kill 2 hours on my Saturday morning. I thought the episode was way too boring. However as one of the younger MSTies (currently 23) at that point in time I had never read Hamlet and was only vaguely familiar with the story. Since that time I had to read Hamlet in college and found that I liked and it and it was soon displacing Julius Ceasar as my favorite work of Shakespeare. So a couple of years ago I decided to borrow a friend’s taped copy of the Hamlet episode and gave it a retry and actually really enjoyed it. Now it’s far from the best episode of the series, but as Sampo, says nowhere near as bad as its reputation. A lot easier to get into the story now and there is some solid and enjoyable riffing.

    Favorite riff: “Perhaps my impending baldness can help.” (Doesn’t really work without the visual, but it gets me rolling every time)

       1 likes

  • 49
    Gummo says:

    I’ve tried, Lord knows I’ve tried.

    I think I’ve made it all the way thru this one once.

    Usually, any attempt lasts about 15 minutes before I find myself wandering out to the kitchen for a snack, to the computer to check email, to the litter box to scoop out cat poop — anything, in other words, rather than watch this dreary dreary movie with so-so riffing.

       2 likes

  • 50
    mikek says:

    I like this episode and I give it 4 stars. No matter how dreary the movie is, it proves to me that the words of Shakespeare can overpower a poor setting. The actress who plays Ophelia is nice to look at as well.

       0 likes

  • 51
    Ator In Flight says:

    To SLEEEEEP!

       0 likes

  • 52
    Not Merritt Stone says:

    I’m in the pro-Hamlet camp and give it ***1/2.

    As boring and dreary as this movie is, I would still gladly sit through it unriffed and unedited in its native language if given the choice between it and an unriffed showing of Marooned/Space Travellers.

       0 likes

  • 53
    fish eye no miko says:

    #43 & #46: Hey, I like Mad Monster! Seriously, I remember the first time I really sat and watched it and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

    But on topic: This isn’t a favorite, but I kind of enjoy it. I find it odd that in an English dub, they picked someone with a thick Mexican accent to do the dubbing. Uh… ok, then, guys.
    “Ay, there’s the rub…”
    “I knew I had some rub left!”

       0 likes

  • 54

    Roman,

    As others have noted, it’s not really a matter of hate, just that it’s a very very very very (hmmm, have I said enough “very”s yet?) boring movie with so-so riffing. I don’t mind Hamlet (have even performed it) but in truth it’s no where near the Bard’s best (can you say “overrated”?) and this production isn’t inept (now THAT would be funny) just so dreary and by the numbers. It’s hard to riff things which aren’t poorly made but just dull — the dullness doesn’t lend itself to any real humor (how many times can you comment on how dull something is?).

    My attention wanders during this and I have *never* had that through MST3K episodes where I hated the movie (there are some real despicable movies done by MST3K). I either find myself doing other things or falling asleep and that’s not a hallmark of something worth watching. So — sorry, but “worst. episode. ever.” (Not because I hate it, but because it misses the whole point of MST3K, which is Fun. Get it?)

    But I’m not upset that others enjoy it. I think, however, that even the most ardent fans of this one would admit they are glad this was not the sort of episode MST3K did often (or even “ever again”).

       1 likes

  • 55
    MPSh says:

    Count me in as well among those who consider this episode not so bad. Not their best, but pretty entertaining in its own right. And it’s Hamlet. Truncated German Hamlet, but Hamlet all the same.

    I love Kevin Murphy’s comment in his episode guide entry: “This thing, made in the early ’60s, has ‘we’re still really sorry for the war and feel terrible’ all over it.”

    I also love the riff comparing Claudius to an overfed Richard Thompson. And, of course, the cracks about Danish clowns…

       0 likes

  • 56
    sirhamhat says:

    First of all, the movie is not terrible… Its not great, but like Kevin mentions, its Shakespeare. I certainly don’t think Shakespeare is untouchable, but I’ve seen some God awful versions of Hamlet and this isn’t one of them. That being said, I find myself watching it and the sparse, mediocre riffing just doesn’t bring anything to the experience.

    As previously stated, I think this was an “experiment” (like the Rifftrax Casablanca which I also disliked) that, in my opinion, didn’t work. I fall in the camp of the worse the movie, the better the episode. Gimme Monster-A-Go-Go, Manos, Beast of Yucca Flats, and any other Coleman Francis movie you wanna throw at me. Bring on the “DEEP HURTING”, because the episodes that feature “watchable movies” are my least favorite episodes. Well… there’s only 2 episodes that feature “watchable movies”. I don’t like “Kitten With a Whip” either, because its not a terrible movie, and I find myself watching it and the riffs become distracting. The only difference is the riffs in “Kitten With a Whip” are MUCH better than the riffs in Hamlet.

    I usually try to give Hamlet another try once a year, and my opinion has yet to change. I DO love the host segments, but that’s not enough to save this from being my least visited episode.

       0 likes

  • 57
    Brandon says:

    “Camera Two! Cut to Camera Two!”

       0 likes

  • 58
    I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    MxgK @54 – last paragragh.

    I disagree. A bad production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” would have made excellent MST fodder.

       0 likes

  • 59
    Creeping Terror says:

    @38: “Perhaps if they’d found one which was performed badly, that would’ve made it a funnier episode . . .” Are you kidding me? This IS performed badly. Every performance is flat and un-energetic. I think that the Brains would have struggled to find a Shakespeare film from the post-silent film era that would be more poorly performed.

    Kudos to the Brains for trying something new after ten seasons. I’m also in the camp that this isn’t the worst episode ever. (I sometimes use my “Night of the Blood Beast” DVD as a coaster.) But it is below average. The riffs are too few to really make this episode drag. The dreary cinematography and depressing scenery don’t help.

    Like many others, I’ve warmed up to this episode, but not a whole lot. There is a nostalgic quality of “Hamlet,” having read it about six times (“Macbeth” is the only Shakespeare play I’ve read more.) The familiar language of this play wraps me up like a security blanket… as odd as that sounds. The fact that the voiceovers (especially Montalban’s) are better than the German actors’ performance helps this episode.

       1 likes

  • 60
    Finnias 'Critter' Jones says:

    The MSTies do protest too much, methinks.

    First, to those who hate this one, I can’t blame you. But I love it for reasons beyond what is included in the show itself. It is a noble, though failed, experiment in movie riffing.

    As a high school A.P. English geek, I personally identified with the character of Hamlet, being an ‘alienated youth’ myself. Saw it performed onstage in NYC by Kevin Kline at Joe Papp’s Public Theater when I was in college, still entranced by the character’s brooding melancholy. It wasn’t until I was much older and wiser (?) that I saw this German nightmare version of my hero portrayed as an epic tool in a MST episode. As a burgeoning MSTie, their willingness to mock a (debased version of an) English-Lit standard captured my fancy, helping me to become a convert.

    So this is why I’m fond of this particular episode, ever though it may not be that funny. The fact that the Brains took hold of this opportunity to skewer a beloved classic demonstrates the breadth of their comedic worldview and automatically elevates it beyond the usual complaints about the inherent poor qualities of a MST film.

    This is a complex equation: usually a a MST film has both a bad script & poor production values. Here the script is GOLD but the staged for Kraut-TV production seems sub-par. The Brains aren’t mocking the play, but the execution. Yes it’s dull, but Hamlet is inherently boring. It’s not a visual story! Perhaps in it’s original 2.5 hour (IMDb says “152 min.”) runtime, this version is fine, but from what they chose to show us here, it is dullsville. Imagine having to endure another hour of this…

    He may be one of “the most successful non-anglophone foreign actors in the history of American cinema,” (again, IMDb) but Maximilian Schell I mainly remember from Disney’s disastrous The Black Hole (soon to be remade). The decision to have him dub his own voice in English is unfortunate, as he is sometimes difficult to understand. Ricardo Montalban (Mr. Roarke/Khan) as the voice of Claudius only adds to the geek fantasy/deconstruction going on here. “Rich Corinthian leather.” And Ophelia was HOT. Pity the real girl killed herself too.

    Still, an attempt at an “objective” rating must be made… For sheer balls (and to skew the ratings towards the positive) I’d like to give it a 5, but honestly, it’s more of a 2. Maybe a 1. Drab and dreary, with some chuckles but few real laughs.

    Whether the Brains dropped the ball here in the writing room or if it was unriffable from the get-go and should never have been attempted (or aired) are questions that don’t concern me. It’s bit like “Revolution 9″ from The Beatles White Album: I appreciate the attempt, but having heard it a few times, I usually skip it. Still a great album, and putting the “experimental track” near the end doesn’t detract too much from the whole.

    Crow: “Get thee to a bakery – no, wait…”

       0 likes

  • 61
    thedumpster says:

    I agree with Creepygirl. I had the same experience.

    “Hamlet” is better than “Santa Claus”, “Zombie Nightmare” and “Racket Girls” by far. For these three the riffing was flat and proves no matter how bizzare the movie is, it needs strong riffing to go along with it.

       0 likes

  • 62
    mataglap says:

    Not a favorite, but not a bad episode either, I think it’s just that the production is so monochromatic and spoken so monotonously that it’s hard to focus on what’s going on, if the story were unfamiliar it probably would be as inscrutable as City Limits or Castle of Fu Manchu. I’d love to see them riff the David Tennant/Patrick Stewart Hamlet, which is a much better production but also kind of monochromatic and claustrophobic.

    “Time for starchy, pork-filled German Hamlet.”

       0 likes

  • 63
    Wilford B. Wolf says:

    Put me in the camp of not my favorite episode (even Mike Nelson, has referred to it as “their most hated episode”). As others have mentioned, it’s no so much bad, just dull. I remember seeing on rec.arts.tv.mst3k.misc someone did a MiSTing of “The Merchant of Venice” on the premise that M&tB were so used to riffing, they’d riff anything. Hamlet seems to be a canon version of that same premise. (And continued with Rifftrax, such as Lord of The Rings riffs.) In my mind, the key to a good MST3k episode is have some sort of failure (plot, acting, effects, etc.) and have the riffs exploit it. This version of Hamlet gives the riffers very little to work with.

    When I saw Hamlet announced, I was hoping for some spectacular failure, such as the dialog being translated into German and then back into English (leading to weird dialog ala Gamera vs. Guiron). Instead, the dubbers actually bothered to use the original (even if the performances were pretty flat). The riffs are hit or miss, and other than the Htom Servieux bit (“purse your beak” is still a favorite phrase), I don’t care for the sketches. It is probably the least played of all my DVDs. I’ll even play “The Starfighters” before I’ll pull out Hamlet.

       0 likes

  • 64
    Katana says:

    I never really saw this one until I got the boxset, and I went into it with the thought clear in my head that this episode gets SO MUCH HATE. So I popped it in with my normal expectations and found…

    …That I reallllly enjoy this episode, far more than a person probably should. Perhaps it really worked best because I had just read the play in English class and it was therefore fresh on my mind. I also have no qualms with ripping apart classic pieces of literature, so for me, going into the sacred ground of Shakespeare was no problem.

    Also, I knew the episode guide entries were getting shorter, but daaaang this takes the cake. >>;

       2 likes

  • 65

    Five Stars! because it needs the love.

       3 likes

  • 66
    Sampo says:

    #20 Rob: I just tweeted Kevin and asked him why he called “Alas Poor WHO?” “series canceling.” He replied “Because it was unremittingly and aggressively dumb.” Yowch!

       0 likes

  • 67
    fireballil says:

    I think this is one of my favorite eps. My theory is that a movie winds up on the show, it’s because something(or multiple things) are terrible, such as the script, the scenery, or the acting. Well, you can’t blame the script here, because it is one of the classics of all of literature. The acting is okay, but my big problem is the sets. It seems that there were only two sets: One was used for the throne room, the hallway, and most everthing else. The other one was used for the bedroom where Hamlet killed Polonious. It looked rather cheap to me. Also, everyone wore the same costumes throughout except for the Queen. It made the production look rather cheap. The host segments were good except for Number Three. I wondered why it got on because the premise was all wrong. Apparently you had to guess who someone was by just a few bones, supposedly beacuse Hamlet knew who Yoric was with just his skull; however, Horatio the gravedigger told Hamlet who it was, so that should have been thrown out. A couple of fave riffs:

    When Hamlet mentions madness, Crow says, “I really hate that ‘Our House’ song, you know?
    Mike’s Harry Carey impression: “Take me out to the sword fight!”
    Tom as Claudius: “Tonight I’m going to unleash the great Dane.”

    Also I liked when they started doing the ‘To Be or Not To Be’ soliloquy or lines from other plays at wrong times and the reactions to Hamlet’s elongated death scene.

       1 likes

  • 68
    Chief?McCloud! says:

    #2 typed it best….the Great Dane riff is perfect!

    3.5 stars

       0 likes

  • 69

    @61: “Hamlet” is better than “Santa Claus”, “Zombie Nightmare” and “Racket Girls” by far. For these three the riffing was flat

    I couldn’t disagree more, especially about Santa Claus. Just off the top of my head, there’s singing “Does the devil lose his flavor on the bedpost overnight”, “Walter Brennan’s no good since he went camp”, “That IS a mouth, isn’t it?”, “That’s okay, us 3-year-old will just fend for ourselves”, and maybe my favorite riff ever, “But Santa oppresses the proletariat!”. (I may have paraphrased a couple of those.)
    Of course, if you don’t know pre-rock-and-roll pop music, Walter Brennan or Karl Marx, you won’t get most of those.

       3 likes

  • 70
    swh1939 says:

    @66 – Sampo
    I just tweeted Kevin and asked him why he called “Alas Poor WHO?” “series canceling.” He replied “Because it was unremittingly and aggressively dumb.” Yowch!

    Caught me off guard with that one and I laughed at loud (and I’m at work).

       0 likes

  • 71
    fireballil says:

    Correction: Horatio and the gravedigger(filthy, misogynous Paul Verhoven) were two different people.

       0 likes

  • 72

    The “Alas, poor who” sketch was bad, I thought. It seemed to me that they just played out the premise, and never built on it.

       0 likes

  • 73
    WeatherServo9 says:

    To watch or not to watch, that is the question. The riff’s the thing.

    The fact that this was originally in German kind of scares me. I wonder how Shakespeare comes across translated into German. Guten tag, ich heisse Hamlet!

    There’s not much left to say about this episode that the first 60+ of you haven’t already said. I neither hate nor love it. It just seems to sit there and beg me to watch it, because the concept is actually quite enticing. I like MST3K, I like Shakespeare. Surely putting the two together can’t be a bad idea, right?

    Whether ’tis nobler to sit through this one without falling asleep or not, I don’t know. Alas poor MSTies, perhaps if Fortinbras had been included we would have enjoyed it more. What a piece of work was this episode.

       0 likes

  • 74
    fantagor says:

    TWO STARS.

    One for having the guts to tackle the Bard. Another for the host segments.

    I’m all for branching out from the “science” in MST, but this is a bridge too far. It’s still Hamlet, starchy actors and dreadfully voiced-over with the production values of a high school play notwithstanding. I don’t even care for Shakespeare, but with so many complicated thoughts flowing about, it leaves a paucity of opportunities for jocularity.

    Randy

       0 likes

  • 75
    Dark Grandma of Death says:

    Well, I’m really impressed so far with the discussion for this ep. I was expecting a lot of vitriol, but most of the comments have been pretty reasonable and decent about explaining why they do or don’t like Hamlet. After a long week of listening to nasty rhetoric, this has been refreshing.

    If you’re interested in seeing all of Shakespeare’s plays performed at once, check out the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, by the Reduced Shakespeare Company (dvd, available from Netflix). Their performance of Hamlet is worth a look, and won’t take up much of your time.

       1 likes

  • 76
    BeefStumpKnob says:

    I’ve owned this ep for years, have not been able to make it all the way through yet. But in the interest of the ep guide, I will try again this weekend. The old english translated into german and back into english(or maybe it just seems that way) is enough to make my head spin, and I was always bored to death with shakespeare in school to begin with. Will attempt to get myself into the proper frame of mind and go for it saturday morning.

       0 likes

  • 77
    Brandon says:

    Incidentally, in that screen cap of the title and shadowrama, is that Servo’s control rod I see underneath him?

       0 likes

  • 78
    Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    Sampo (#66): “I just tweeted Kevin and asked him why he called ‘Alas Poor WHO?’ ‘series canceling.’ He replied ‘Because it was unremittingly and aggressively dumb.’ Yowch!”

    I can see that. The odd references seem ladled on with a trowel in that sketch, which is unusual for the Brains. Even when a sketch is filled with references, they usually made them feel organic to the characters (as in the cute bit in “Pumaman” where they all had the same off-kilter ideas about who would be worth controlling with the mask).

    ***

    ck (#13): “Probably the strongest criticism of the production is that for some strange reason they cut out the small but crucial role of Fortinbras.”

    It’s almost certainly the Brains who cut it. According to IMDb, the original movie is 152 minutes long. One cut I wonder about is when they cut from Polonius’s platitudinous advice to Laertes after the first line. I wonder, because it actually improves the pace, and helps sell the production’s joke (not in Shakespeare) that Polonius had only just memorized the advice from a book.

    ***

    All in all, I find it a pretty average episode. It’s one of those where the level of the filmmaking itself is at a level of dull, basic competence that’s difficult to riff on, and the wordiness of the play forces M&TB into some unusually long stretches of silence. They’re reduced to twice making dog barks at exclamations of “Speak!” It’s rescued a bit for me because, well, it’s Hamlet, and riffing on something famous gives the Brains some new comic territory to explore.

    A few favorite riffs not yet mentioned as I started writing this:

    (sung to courtly dance music) “Night fever, night fever. We know how to do it.”
    “We’ll be on the throne.”
    “Nuns sent me home. My skirt’s too short.”

    A riff I’m almost surprised they didn’t do: Earlier in the series, they’d frequently quip, “Polonius?” when someone was hiding behind something, listening. They missed the opportunity to revive it. “Polonius? Oh, wait, this time it really is.”

       1 likes

  • 79
    Colossus Prime says:

    #78 – A few favorite riffs not yet mentioned as I started writing this:

    (sung to courtly dance music) “Night fever, night fever. We know how to do it.”

    I beat you to it early on Smile It always cracks me up as does the actual song whenever I catch it on the radio.

       0 likes

  • 80
    Johnny Ryde says:

    German Hamlet. What an idea.

    It’s been years since I last watching this one. I don’t dislike it as much as others here do (I tend to be attracted to the more empty episodes: Starfighters, Coleman Francis trilogy), but it just never seems to come up much in my DVD player. Still, while I don’t care for it too much this viewing I found it better than I thought. But it still will not become one of my favorites. (And like Sampo, I found myself sometimes distracted by the fact that I’m actually paying attention to Shakespeare’s dialog.

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the initial rumors that flew around the Internet (or rec.arts.tv.mst3k.misc at least) shortly after this episode title was announced. There was talk that this was a “special” edition of Hamlet, where Shakespeare’s dialog had been translated into German (for the original production) and then translated directly and literally into English (i.e. not using the original Shakespeare). This turned out to be incorrect, obviously, but it was a fun thought.

    This is one of the few instances where my thoughts keep drifting out of the MST3king. IMDB at one time stated that the actress playing Ophelia committed suicide on her birthday at the age of 23. Always makes me sad to think of that. Especially as I can’t help but notice how much she looks like someone I met a few times.

    Anyone ever completely misremembered a riff? Or had a riff added by your memory that never actually happened? I have a soundbite in my head of Tom saying (right after Polonius has been stabbed through the curtain) in a overly happy voice : “Polonious! You nut!”

    When Hamlet is confronting Uncle King at the end, Crow riffs “Okay, okay, mistakes were made” (Nixon/Reagan reference)… but his mouth continues moving long after the riff was finished. I know this happens every so often, but this seemed like one of the longer edits. Any guesses on what was cut?

    It’s silly, but I always laugh when Tom and Crow are dressed as ghosts, and Tom sees Mike and immediately shrieks: “A ghost!!!” Is this a reference to something else? It seems familiar, but I just can’t place it.

       1 likes

  • 81
    Johnny Ryde says:

    (And of course, in the time it took me to type up my thoughts, people started mentioning the English –> German –> English thing.)

    Also, I’m surprised there weren’t more Ricardo Montalban jokes. I’m surprised no one yelled “KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!” at him…

       0 likes

  • 82
    ghlbtsk says:

    Most of the people professing admiration for this one love Ol’ Shakes. I may be the only one who HATES Shakespeare and LOVES this episode, though it may be because I so dearly love to hear M&TB rip into these pompous windbags (I’ve read a lot of it, I understand it, and I still hate it). Hating Shakes in my circles is akin to saying you hate Da Vinci, Einstein and Mozart, but I can’t help it.

    I think the seriousness of the actors contributes greatly to the riffing, which I find to be top-notch. Also, I can’t help but collapse in a fit of giggles anytime anyone, for any reason, yells “SUM UP!!!”

    Alien 9 out of 10 Alien

    Favorite riffs that haven’t been mentioned yet:

    “Ah! The Great ‘What Time Is It?’ scene from HAMLET”

    “I’ll take ‘to be’ for fifty, Alex”

    OPHELIA: “My prince…”
    HTOM: “…are back from Photo-Mat”

    “Shakespeare BLUE!”

    “So, there’s no chance there’s gonna be a jet ski chase in this movie, huh Mike?”

    “TO BE, OR….oh…..”

       2 likes

  • 83
    SuperSwift says:

    Now I’ve seen 2 episodes, “Demon Doll” and “Hamlet” and they both were boring. What a waste. You people need to preoccupy your time with something else. Morons.

       0 likes

  • 84

    Actually, that’s “Devil Doll”, unless you saw a little known lost episode.

       3 likes

  • 85
    losingmydignity says:

    And the winner is:

    Okay, I felt like I really watched this one carefully though not too analytically I hope.
    It was fun.
    Hadn’t watched this since a first viewing years ago when I thought it was a total failure. Didn’t think that this time so have to reevaluate my grade. There were enough big laughs to edge this away from my bottom episodes: the bottom three would now have to fall to She Creature, Quest of the Delta K. and Magic Voyage of Sinbad. Hamlet is far from the disaster I remember it being, though there are enough dead spots for me to rank this lower than most. Which brings me to:

    The Film itself.
    This is a truly wretched production of what may be the greatest play in the English language. Over acted, bleak as noted, and containing some of the worst direction I’ve ever seen–my High School production of Midsummer’s Nights Dream was ten times better than this dismal outing. But to paraphrase Billy the Bard: the plot is not the thing, the poetry is…that is, what I think is truly great about Shakespeare is the words, not the rather clunky plot lines (bringing in a Ghost to advance your plot is always a weakness–trying reading Morrison’s “Beloved” for example without rolling your eyes.) And half of the great words are entirely muddled…so we are left with a static (almost nothing in the background to riff on at all) and nearly incomprehensible, plodding tele-soap-opera. This makes it hard on the Brains riffing-wise with lots of long passage where they can’t really riff at all. Still, they do a pretty good job, though I think they could have done better. Which brings me to:

    The really go easy on Max. He is one of the worst actors to ever win an oscar for best actor. Really, we’re talking William Shatner territory here. Go back and watch his wretched performance in Judgment in Nurmberg (a film Shatner was in btw!) and you will see…I think they could made a lot more fun his delivery, his pacing etc to fill in the dead spaces, since its really nearly impossible to understand what he’s saying most of the time.

    Highlights: the to be or not to be speech which they have a good time with until Max takes off and they don’t get a riff in. The Brains should have outshouted him.
    The Ophelia madness bit. Great.
    The riffs on Claudius’ face as he watches the duel…he looks like so stoned….anything with Claudius is pretty funny.
    Hamlet’s Carnival of the Soulseque initial wordless confrontation with Ophelia. Hilarious on its own.
    And:

    Anything with Patty Labelle, ur, I mean the King’s Ghost appears. As has been mentioned, the Rosalind Russel riff is a fav though the follow up, the next riff after that, is my absolute favorite. Can’t remember it as usual, but go enjoy for yourself…

    We all noticed Ricardo Montablan but did the Brains? Did I miss some Star Trek riffs or something? I didn’t catch any.

    Host segs were disappointing.

    Nuff said.

    C

       1 likes

  • 86
    Sampo says:

    “I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the initial rumors that flew around the Internet (or rec.arts.tv.mst3k.misc at least) shortly after this episode title was announced. There was talk that this was a “special” edition of Hamlet, where Shakespeare’s dialog had been translated into German (for the original production) and then translated directly and literally into English (i.e. not using the original Shakespeare). This turned out to be incorrect, obviously, but it was a fun thought.”

    I’d forgotten all about that!! Obviously, there was some sort of a mis-communication between BBI and the fans on that. I forget exactly where that idea came from but I fear I was somehow involved!

       1 likes

  • 87
    trennerdios says:

    I’m not a fan of this episode simply because I find the riffing to be sub-par. The dull, dreary production certainly doesn’t help anything either. Put that together and you’ve got a pretty weak episode in my opinion. I do love most of the host segments though.

       0 likes

  • 88
    kismetgirl88 says:

    Has any one seen “Hamlet 2″? Has nothing do with this episode but I thought I ask.

       0 likes

  • 89
    Flying Saucers Over Oz says:

    It’s… not a terrible episode, in my opinion, though the choice of movie is indeed a tad bizarre. I can only assume they knew time was running out, one of them (Kevin?) had always wanted to riff on bad Shakespeare, so they did this.

    Can’t help wondering how many junior high or high school English teachers use this episode as an attempt to get kids to pay attention to The Bard….

       0 likes

  • 90
    trickymutha says:

    #88- I have- though I don’t remember it too well- my GF/roommate watched it and I joined in for a bit.

       0 likes

  • 91
    losingmydignity says:

    Oh, don’t know, Sampo…are you sure you’re not half right?
    I mean, some of those lines did not sound right…especially the “what time is it” scene. Almost got out my complete works of Shakespeare last night because it did occur to me that some lines didn’t sound “right.” Anyone have time to check?

    Flying Saucer: so few adaptations of Shakespeare work and many a high schooler has been traumatized through out the years…except by Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet of course….or by Olivia Hussey to be exact.

       0 likes

  • 92
    Travis H says:

    “Thank you, cold-water-on-groin.”

       1 likes

  • 93
    Htom Sirveaux says:

    Put me in with those who love this ep (as you can tell by my nickname–btw they never fixed that and technically that’s still his real name), both as a MST, and for Maximillian Schell. I think he’s one of the best Hamlets out there, because he plays it more understated and soft than most others. Certainly kicks the crap out of Mel Gibson, and I disagree with Mike being that I’d rather see this than the Zefferelli.

       0 likes

  • 94
    MLD says:

    After reading on this site (in different topics) how someone can see the brilliance of Manos, all the love for “Kline” (Vomits), and now…how this episode isn’t getting slammed to Hell, but is either good or (Vomits again) very good makes me ashamed to be a MST3K fan.

    This episode is easily a Top 3 for worst MST3K of all time. I’ve only watched it all the way once, and the other times I fall asleep (or I should say, my brain turns itself off to prevent any damage from viewing the train wreck on screen). Is it “Cool” to like this episode now? Are MST3K fans not allowed to dislike ANY episodes?!

    I’m very lucky that I have yet to run into a MST3K fan who behaves in the manner that is portrayed in some of the messages here. If I was to see that in real life…I’d probably destroy all of my DVD’s and never think of MST3K ever again!

    If I could give this 1/2 of a star, I would have.

       1 likes

  • 95
    GizmonicTemp says:

    SuperSwift #83 – Wow, two Mstie haters in the past week. How are you cooler-than-morons people finding your way here?

    MLD #94 – Chill. I hate watermelon, but I don’t freak out when others in my family are making sticky pink messes of themselves.

    I’m GizmonicTemp, and I approve this dictum.

       5 likes

  • 96
    Jake Sisko says:

    One reference they missed…

    The actor playing Horatio was Karl Michael Vogler, who played Rommel in Patton. After all of the “you magnificent bastard, I read your book!” riffs (and variations thereof) they did over the years, I was surprised they didn’t pick up on that.

       1 likes

  • 97
    Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    A question about editing the films, if anyone has the answer:

    I’ve heard about films from the first few seasons where the Brains riffed on an entire overlength film in the writing room, and then edited the film before the taping of the episode.

    Did this remain the case during the whole run of the show? It seems like kind of a wasted effort to riff on parts of the movie that they’d just have to edit out to fit the timeslot. Granted, it would give them the freedom of cutting the scenes with the least funny riffs, but to some degree, they’d have to edit the movie so that it still made sense. (And since the first scenes you’d trim for time would be the dullest/least vital, they’re apt to be the ones yielding the least/worst riffs anyway.)

    I wonder if they may have changed it later on to having someone (Brad?) edit the movie to 75 minutes before the writing began. If that were the case, only one writer would have seen the whole movie– the one who picked it (Frank or Mary Jo). Which would explain the occasional joke accidentally ripping the film for an edit that was made at BBI.

    That’s my hypothesis, anyway.

       0 likes

  • 98
    Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    MLD (#94); “how this episode isn’t getting slammed to Hell, but is either good or (Vomits again) very good makes me ashamed to be a MST3K fan.”

    The subjectivity of taste is a terrible, terrible bitch, ain’t it?

    “I’m very lucky that I have yet to run into a MST3K fan who behaves in the manner that is portrayed in some of the messages here. If I was to see that in real life…I’d probably destroy all of my DVD’s and never think of MST3K ever again!”

    And God, how much we would regret that.

    “If I could give this 1/2 of a star, I would have.”

    Yeah, yeah. And if you could give it 1/2 star, you’d say, “If I could give this zero stars, I would have.” And if you could give it zero stars, you’d say, “If I could give this negative stars, I would have.” It’s people like you that make comments on IMDb so unreadable. Let me guess: you’ve posted more than one review blasting a movie as “THE WORST MOVIE EVER!!!”

       6 likes

  • 99
    Clint says:

    It’s black & white. It’s Europey. It’s slow. Hardly any music. I can see people’s gripes.

    MST3k saves it for me, though.

       0 likes

  • 100
    Pixiesnix says:

    For me, it’s a good-not-great episode. What helps it (and this is true with the truly dreadful movies) is that it’s not only unremittingly bleak, but it takes itself so seriously. I mean, I know it’s a tragedy, but even the comic relief is serious.

    Favorite riff: That’s Sickly Days, downtown Copenhagen.

       1 likes

  • 101

    Despite a lot of people’s griping, I’d rather watch the worst episode of MST3K than anything else on TV these days.

       4 likes

  • 102
    This Guy says:

    I’m also in the “pro” camp on this one. I don’t think less of anyone for not liking this episode, because it’s just a matter of taste. It’s nothing to do with intelligence or having a lot of knowledge about Shakespeare, it’s just that it won’t appeal to everyone. That said, a couple of points:

    #94: No, those who like this episode don’t like it because it’s “cool” to like it; they like it because they like it. You seem to be suffering a severe case of Opinion Myopia–the belief that anyone who doesn’t share your opinion is not simply wrong, but that they don’t actually hold the opinion they profess.

    #76: This isn’t a flame or anything, but you stepped into a pet peeve of mine. Shakespeare didn’t write in Old English or even Middle English, but Modern English (Early Modern, but still.) Middle English, most associated nowadays with Chaucer, reads almost like a different language, but you can usually make out a lot of it when it’s in print. Old English or Anglo-Saxon reads entirely like a different language, and it’s heavily Germanic. Beowulf was originally written in OE, and Tolkien taught it at Oxford.

    #83: 0/10 on your attempt. Try harder next time.

       4 likes

  • 103
    pablum says:

    Perhaps the worst episode of MST3K ever. I chalk it up to the crew finally realizing they were all about to lose their jobs and being in shock while writing. Maybe Hamlet and this German version in particular weren’t salvageable. Anyway, this episode sucks. Despite that, I still own the DVD from Volume 4.

    I feel similarly to the upcoming It Lives By Night which I again feel that job-loss shell shock was a major contributor to the low quality of the comedy within it.

       0 likes

  • 104
    Dr. Batch says:

    I’ve seen this one at least four times. Let’s be honest, it’s not that good. I have no reason to ever watch it again. There’s so many other MST3k episodes to watch instead.

       0 likes

  • 105
    Rob says:

    @66 – Sampo

    Thanks for looking into it. Question asked, question answered lol.

       0 likes

  • 106
    Pixiesnix says:

    #94 reads a lot better in the voice of Comic Book Guy.

       3 likes

  • 107
    greydruid says:

    @53, – fish eye no miko:

    That guy with the thick Mexican accent was the famous Ricardo Montalban. Or, as Shatner would call him, KHAAAAAAAAN!

       0 likes

  • 108

    I can’t understand why people don’t like this one. It has my all time favorite riff: Tom Servo declaiming “Sum Up!” during the “To be or not to be” soliloquy.

       0 likes

  • 109
    big61al says:

    I used to think that this was my least favorite episode. I have made a change in my thinking. I now have four catagories to classify the episodes. Top ten, great, good, fair. So this rates as a fair. I feel better already.

       1 likes

  • 110
    Hermie says:

    Seriously, how can some of you put this in your top 5?? Especially the girl who liked it better than Santa Claus. This episode is dividing the fans. They should have chosen a different film.

       0 likes

  • 111
    Cubby says:

    This episode is dividing the fans. They should have chosen a different film.

    See, this is why the company was called Best Brains.

    Their brains were so powerful they could forsee an internet argument over the selection of “Hamlet” 11 years hence – and they chose to do nothing about it.

       0 likes

  • 112
    crowschmo says:

    Blech.

       0 likes

  • 113
    Joe Raygor says:

    I must say, I am genuinely pleased to see this thread be (for the most part) a very mature debate with both sides presenting reasonable explanations why they like or dislike “Hamlet”.

    I was honestly worried when I came in that I’d just be seeing an endless line of “OMG THIS SUX WORST EPISODE EVARRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!1111oneoneone”. But I’m very impressed to see MSTies can disagree with other with respect. It’s something that makes me PROUD to be a fan of this show.

    As for the episode itself: If I’m in the right kind of mood, Hamlet can be a hysterical blast. Most of the time, I’m usually stone-faced and only chuckle occasionally. In other words: Meh. It doesn’t get played often, but I don’t really dislike it strong enough that if someone wanted to watch it, I wouldn’t protest.

    MLD (#94): Wow. Mystery Science Theater 3000. Serious Business. I’ll bet you’re the kind of person who would write a 10 paragraph rant on how much “American Idol”/”Twilight”/Miley Cyrus sucks, but when asked how much you actually watched/read/listened to, you’d go “Don’t know, never so much as looked at it for 10 seconds!” and those kind of uninformed prejudgmental opinions just make me angry/sad. (And before anyone asks, no I am not a fan of the given examples.)

       1 likes

  • 114
    Joe Raygor says:

    crowschmo: Legit question: Is there an episode of MST3K you actually like? Seems like every single review you write is “This episode sucks” “Lame episode” or “I didn’t care for this”.

    Seriously, lighten up.

       0 likes

  • 115
    Luther Strickland says:

    #111 Cubby: “See, this is why the company was called Best Brains.

    Their brains were so powerful they could forsee an internet argument over the selection of “Hamlet” 11 years hence – and they chose to do nothing about it.””

    One minor correction, Cubby: the brains foresaw a LAME internet argument and did nothing to prevent it. It boggles the mind that people professing to be adults in some sense of that word still fail to understand that the fact that opinions, especially about art and entertainment, are neither right nor wrong. They simply are.

    I find this epsiode only mildly entertaining compared to most of the rest of the series. Unlike a lot of the “pro” comments, I think the “Alas, poor who?” sketch is not at all funny, except for the inclusion of the canned laughed track. That is the only saving grace of what I find to be an otherwise flat skit. Some of the riffing is top notch, some not so much. An okay episode, though I, too, have fallen asleep on it a time or two.

       0 likes

  • 116
    MLD says:

    LOL!

    Again, I’m THANKFUL that I haven’t met a REAL LIFE MST3K fan like you “Know it all, holier than thou, would suck the **** of anyone from the show” no-lifers.

    I’m sure that you guys are quite a riot at the Cons huh? Do the comic book nerds harass you any? If Mike/Kevin/Bill are signing and notice you, do they try and hide? I’m guessing yes.

       0 likes

  • 117
    Tork_110 says:

    This episode really let me down. I read Hamlet in high school and I felt like I had a good handle on the play. The skits are OK but this episode comes off as Mike’s KTMA episode. The only parts I liked were the “cut his throat in the church” reactions and the sword fight, where the characters finally shut up for a moment. Otherwise it was scene after scene of watching riffs fall flat.

       1 likes

  • 118
    Joe Raygor says:

    MLD: I’m THANKFUL that I haven’t met a REAL LIFE MST3K fan like you who throws a hissy fit because everyone doesn’t agree with him.

    MST3K: Serious Business.

       2 likes

  • 119
    HamletFan says:

    I like this episode. Mike introduces the film as “drab and dreary.” It may be true the film is just that, but the words are wonderful art.

    I noticed the theater riffing was understated, compared to other movies they have done. I wonder if this shows hatred for the movie or, an allowance for the dialogue?

    Maybe both?

       0 likes

  • 120
    Gummo says:

    Gee, if my life was so empty that I had to fill my time trolling an MST chat board, I’d just kill myself and get it over with.

       1 likes

  • 121
    monoceros4 says:

    Better than Branagh’s Hamlet, anyway! Branagh managed to prove that with the magic of film editing (and bizarre special effects and stunt casting and a lot of other movie magic) it is in fact possible to preserve every single word of a great play and still make an utter hash of it.

    Yes, the adaptation in this episode is rather dreary and lifeless–one longs for the energy and wit you’d expect from, say, someone like Derek Jacobi or David Tennant–but it is still “Hamlet”, which automatically gives the viewer something to look forward to, even if it’s just a favorite quote or two. I can’t say it’s a wonderful MST3K episode, though, but there’s no way it’s any less entertaining than the even drearier, nastier It Lives By Night coming up soon.

    MLD: “LOL!”

    And the fact that he actually said “LOL” is all anyone needs to know.

       1 likes

  • 122
    mikek says:

    Poor Fortinbras. He even go left out that new Hamlet TV movie that aired on PBS a few weeks ago, the one starring Dr. Who and Captain Picard.

       0 likes

  • 123
    Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    MLD (#116): “Again, I’m THANKFUL that I haven’t met a REAL LIFE MST3K fan like you”

    Damn, he’s onto us. He knows we’re not real l… sorry, REAL LIFE MST3K fans, but merely generated by a computer program made by the Illuminati exclusively to bother him.

    Shh! Don’t tell him!

       1 likes

  • 124
    Pixiesnix says:

    But it’s too late! He already knows! Initiate automatic internet self-destruct!

    And the internet was going so well until now…

       1 likes

  • 125
    This Guy says:

    Oh, we can’t have nice things. Time to start developing the next worldwide network.

       1 likes

  • 126
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    Can I vote minus stars? Just kidding. But seriously – screw you, Shakespeare!

       0 likes

  • 127
    Matt D. says:

    Oh MLD, you rapscallion. You are actually making me feel bad about giving this episode one star. This is easily my least favorite episode of all time (of the shows I have seen), but I have no problem with people who can enjoy this episode for what it is.

    I only wonder what Edward De Vere, the 17’th Earl of Oxford, would think of this episode.

       2 likes

  • 128
    DaWurmFace says:

    I can’t say this is a great episode, but like all episodes it has it’s moments. I like Hamlet and I’m glad they kept in some of my favorite lines from the actual play: “Where is Polonius?” “…In heaven”

    I actually kinda like “Alas, poor who?” but man hearing a writer say it’s the reason the show was canceled and that it was incredibly stupid was a little shocking. But still, I like it.

       0 likes

  • 129
    Garth Arizona says:

    2 stars…which is better than other episodes (Castle of Fu-Manchu, Monster A-Go-Go, City Limits, etc.). I watched this again last week and was surprised at how much I liked the riffing. Three stars for the riffing, but one star for the terrible movie. It’s so dark and dreary…how much do you think they spent on sets and wardrobe? A buck fiddy, at most.

    The quality riffing makes this one bearable, and even funny at times. But only 2 star funny…let’s not get carried away.

       0 likes

  • 130
    WhereTheFishLives says:

    Another good episode from season 10, though certainly not the strongest of the season. Favorite riff: He’s reading from Tim Allen’s book. This episode has always depressed me a little after I learned that the girl playing Ophelia committed suicide on her 23rd birthday.

       0 likes

  • 131
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Here’s the problem with this episode: it’s boring. Mike and the bots are really quiet in the theater, like, KTMA Joel and the (weird) bots quiet. There’s too much space between riffs, it’s like they’re just watching the movie. And this movie sucks. I find myself napping or doing something else while watching it. This last time out, about halfway through, I found myself making a list of things I needed to do/buy. New license plates for the car. Need to get the brakes fixed too. Check in on grad school. Pay the electric bill. Buy a new record player. New shoes too. You know, stuff like that. All that said, some of the riffs are actually pretty good (Danish clowns!) and this isn’t a truly terrible episode, it’s just that it sticks out like a sore thumb amongst other MST offerings. It’s easy to pick on. It’s like the redheaded stepchild of MST experiments. And nobody likes gingers.

       3 likes

  • 132
    H says:

    I’ll say this- even though (or maybe because) I’m not a fan of Shakespeare in general, I enjoy this episode. Not great but solid through and through.

       1 likes

  • 133
    RockyJones says:

    Considering the task at hand, I think the guys did a phenomenal job at making this episode as funny as it is…with the possible exception of host segment three. As concepts go, I just never have thought it was the least bit funny. Thankfully, it’s not too overly long.

       0 likes

  • 134
    pat f says:

    I loved this episode, I think it’s one of their all-time best.

       1 likes

  • 135
    Tigermilk says:

    No one has brought up my favorite riff of the episode, and maybe one of my top ten favorite riffs from MST history:

    “Hey! I don’t go to your job and rock the Slurpee machine, do I?”

    Sure, it’s astoundingly unoriginal and built on a way old joke set up, but the way it was delivered by Crow just hit me right.

    The episode itself? My opinion has pretty much been expressed more eloquently by other posters, but I like it. Good episode. Maybe because I love the source material so much that hearing it riffed on makes me happy by proxy. Hamlet was the first goth-teen icon, yeah?

       1 likes

  • 136
    Warren says:

    I don’t hate this one, I just have to force myself not to fall asleep when I’m watching it. Poor audio+dreary visuals makes me tired. I still get this one out to watch occasionally. Host segments vary, Htom Sirveaux is still funny, Alas Poor Who not quite as much. It’s still less boring than Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy or Corpse Vanishes. The last time I watched this I made it through by pulling out my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations and reading all the pages of quotes from…you guessed it, Hamlet. #131-I and many guys I know like hot ginger chicks.

       0 likes

  • 137
    Fart Bargo says:

    Why is anyone paying any heed to the braying of an 8 yr old who is cussing & insulting simply for attention sake?

       1 likes

  • 138
    trennerdios says:

    #54 – You took the words right out of my mouth. That pretty much sums up my exact feelings on the episode, only stated in a much more eloquent manner.

       0 likes

  • 139
    Captain Crouton says:

    So, what’s the tally? I’m guessing it’s 60/40 with the percentage of dislikes are ahead.

       0 likes

  • 140
    Kouban says:

    I think the most bizarre part of this version of Hamlet is the combination of period costume and modern hair. I keep expecting someone to start singing a 60s garage rock song at any moment.

       1 likes

  • 141
    Gummo says:

    I keep expecting someone to start singing a 60s garage rock song at any moment.

    Kouban, that would be pretty great. Make it “96 Tears”!

       0 likes

  • 142
    Sitting Duck says:

    When Hamlet started his “To Be or Not to Be” soliliquey, Mike should have started walking out of the theater. Or would that have been too obscure a reference?

       1 likes

  • 143
    DON3k says:

    Oh boy…. Yes, the production of Hamlet where they made the bold move of constructing only two sets, both made of QUIKRETE concrete mix. Untextured, unpainted, unpadded gray slabs, for as far as the eye can see.

    This episode leaves me as cold and ridged as the gray, concrete set, itself.

    While the riffing is OK, and the segments worth a chuckle, the film itself is just so much nothingness that it sucks the soul from your body as you watch.

    I was a hollow, gray husk by the end of the episode. Still, I did, at least, get thru the episode this time. Two previous attempts, including its original airing, I was not successful in doing so.

    I could not recommend this episode to anyone, frankly, except for in the need of completeness.

    *

       1 likes

  • 144
    Creeping Terror says:

    Reply to #78:

    Fortinbras being cut out is almost certainly NOT the work of the Brains. IMDB says that the original running time was 152 minutes, which is about 2 1/2 hours. A full text version of Hamlet usually runs between 3 1/2 and 4 hours. (Branagh’s version runs for 4 hours and 2 minutes.) When a stage or screen director starts figuring out what the audience will sit through and what needs to be cut, Fortinbras is almost always the first thing to go. The character serves some important purposes for Shakespeare’s audience (politically, philosophically, and dramatically), but modern audiences don’t have the needs. In fact, I have never seen a stage production of “Hamlet” that kept Fortinbras. (Similarly, the character of Hecate is almost always cut from “Macbeth” for similar reasons, although he’s much less integral to the play and many think that Hecate is an interpolation by another author.)

    As far as the question of “Why Germany?” The Germans were the first people to translate Shakespeare and many productions had their first performances on the continent (in English or a foreign language) in Germany. The Germans always have identified with the Bard–even to the point of Hitler claiming that Shakespeare was really a German(!). I’m sure cultural connections between the two countries in the 17th and 18th centuries helped (many German nobles married into the English noble class and from 1714, England was ruled by a German dynasty–the House of Hanover). It’s just interesting to see Shakespeare completely botched by the Krauts.

       1 likes

  • 145
    This Guy says:

    #144: Hecate a “he”? Must’ve been some weird-ass productions of Macbeth that I haven’t seen. Of course, Hitler’s claim was completely preposterous–everyone knows that Shakespeare was really a Klingon.

       1 likes

  • 146
    monoceros4 says:

    #143: “Oh boy…. Yes, the production of Hamlet where they made the bold move of constructing only two sets, both made of QUIKRETE concrete mix. Untextured, unpainted, unpadded gray slabs, for as far as the eye can see.”

    The approach can work. There was a famous ’70s production of Macbeth that employed a similar approach to set design. But then, when you’ve got Ian McKellen as Macbeth and Judi Dench as Lady Macbeth, you don’t really need sets to hold anyone’s attention.

       0 likes

  • 147
    Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    Creeping Terror (#144):

    Yeah, I definitely overstated it. The point I was trying to make is that, way too often, people assume that any exclusions or plot hiccups in a MSTed movie are the result of the filmmakers, when many MSTed films have had quite deep cuts by the Brains to fit the timeslot.

    Your message is actually a much better/more informed response to ck (#13)’s specific claim that “Probably the strongest criticism of the production is that for some strange reason they cut out the small but crucial role of Fortinbras.”

       0 likes

  • 148
    Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    monoceros4 (#146):

    And there was Orson Welles’ famous Broadway production of “Julius Caesar” in modern dress on a practically bare stage. I think in all three cases, the aim is a certain immediacy by not letting the setting draw our attention away from the drama. As I recall, they didn’t use sets in Shakespeare’s own time. Of course, in the actual case at hand, it does make for a pretty dull-looking film. (That said, the director does have a few interesting compositions… and a few odd choices ["Cut to Camera 2! CUT TO CAMERA 2!"].)

       1 likes

  • 149
    erasmus hall says:

    The film hurts my eyeballs-i can’t watch it all the way through-and i consider monter-a -go-go a superb episode-go figure…

       0 likes

  • 150
    SAVE FERRIS says:


    “Beowulf was originally written in OE, and Tolkien taught it at Oxford.”

    .


    I appreciate your adding this fascinating fact, “ThisGuy”; even though, for some odd reason, it kind of makes me chuckle…………..you know, trying to imagine what Tolkien’s students might have thought about having him as their professor, back in the day:

    .


    “DUDE, you’ve got old man Tolkien for English, too?????? What a piece of work THAT guy is…….”

    .


    “I hear you, bro………The guy does nothing but RIPS on those old, dead authors, and then goes on and on for DAYS, talking about that weird ‘Middle-earth’ thing he’s working on that he thinks will knock everyone on their asses……….SHEESH, is that old windbag a dreamer, OR WHAT ????”

    .


    Thanks !!!! Wink

       0 likes

  • 151
    SuperSwift says:

    Hamlet is what made me stop caring about this TV show. Morons.

       0 likes

  • 152
    ck says:

    #151

    repeat to yourself it’s just a show.
    I should relly just relax. LOL

       2 likes

  • 153
    ck says:

    Or even, “really” Grin

       0 likes

  • 154
    fireballil says:

    To Mike in Portland: The premise of Segment 3 wasn’t bad, it was just wrong. Hamlet knowing who Yoric was with just his skull was wrong; the gravedigger told him who it was so the premise of the game was wrong to begin with.

       0 likes

  • 155
    losingmydignity says:

    Ya know, when i they didn’t introduce mary ann and the professor in the intro to Gilligan’s Island I so Quit watching that show….

    SPam Spam spam spam spam spam spam

    Get on it, Sampo…

    We can’t.

    Thank you.

       0 likes

  • 156
    The Toblerone Effect says:

    I’ve always tried to give every episode of MST (as well as all the new CT and RT releases that come out) at least three or four viewings before making a firm decision about it’s comedic value. But this is the exception to the rule…I simply cannot sit through this one with complete attention. And I think it’s the “perfect storm” of failure, so to speak, from my view: I’ve never been a fan of Shakespeare’s works. (I was forced to participate in a class play of “Julius Ceasar” in high school and hated every minute of it). The German TV interpretation left much to be desired. And the riffing did little to add any entertainment value; it’s as if the three were just sitting back at times, astonished that they were actually riffing anything to do with Shakespeare.

    Before anyone gets on my case, I just want to say that I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers here. It’s simply an opinion. This is the only episode I’ll ever give a two-star rating to.

       0 likes

  • 157
    Nutcase says:

    (BOOOOM)

    Servo: GAH! A finnish Scud Missle went off!

       1 likes

  • 158
    Tigermilk says:

    #151 Really? Freaking REALLY?!?

       2 likes

  • 159
    GizmonicTemp says:

    Iggy Pop’s Brother Steve Pop #97 – Most of the movies in the first few seasons were black and white 50’s films that required minimal cutting.

    My hypothesis is that, since the Brains were sort of B-movie connoisseurs, most of them had already seen the entirety of whatever movie they picked, so they had a pretty good idea of what parts to cut.

    With as many writers as they had, I wouldn’t be surprised if they riffed the entire film, and then edited the film to make the most sense. So yes, there are likely hundreds if riffs we’ve never heard and never will. Cry

    That’s what I think.

       0 likes

  • 160
    Tombomb says:

    I’ll pass on viewing this one, especially since the fans have spoken so critically on it. I’ll wait for next weeks episode discussion. BOOM!

       0 likes

  • 161
    Really old Teenager from Outerspace says:

    Hated it. Neutral

       0 likes

  • 162
    This Guy says:

    #150: A playlet worthy of Crow T. Robot himself! Incidentally, the professor who taught my Old English course is a Tolkien scholar. Didn’t bother me a bit, of course.

       0 likes

  • 163
    Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    Gizmonic Temp (#159): “Most of the movies in the first few seasons were black and white 50’s films that required minimal cutting.”

    Sure. That would be why many of them were accompanied by shorts. What point are you trying to make? I didn’t say all, most, or even many. I talked about whenever they had an overlength film.

    “With as many writers as they had, I wouldn’t be surprised if they riffed the entire film, and then edited the film to make the most sense.”

    My point was, maybe it occurred to them IN LATER SEASONS that it could save them time by having someone else “edit the film to make the most sense” prior to their riffing on it. Which is why I don’t know what point you’re trying to make. If anything, you’re pointing out one of the reasons pre-trimming would have been desirable in later seasons: the films in later seasons, on average, were longer than the films in earlier seasons. Why waste time, no matter how many writers they had? (“Mitchell,” maybe the most obvious case of their making fun of a plot hiccup caused by BBI’s own edit, was originally 97 minutes– about 22 minutes overlength.)

       0 likes

  • 164
    Creeping Terror says:

    @ 145:

    Oops! Yes, Hecate is a woman. I was mistaken because I skip Hecate’s scenes when I read “Macbeth.” I probably haven’t read those scenes in over 10 years. It’s obvious to me (a dabbler in Shakespeare reading) that the scenes weren’t written by the Bard.

    @ 147:

    You’re right. But I sometimes tend to overanalyze movies I see, TV shows I watch, and plays I read/attend. A perfect example of this tendency is in my comment on “The Undead” on these forums. I think I put more thought into that movie than Roger Corman did.

       0 likes

  • 165
    Richard the Lion footed says:

    Hey,

    Who died and made YOU episode reviewer????

    Oh, yea, Right . . . Sorry Oops!

    I am actually on board with you on this. I thought it was an ambitious movie to try and riff and that Mike and the Bots did a good job of it.

    Side note:

    This was actually a good way to get my kids interested in Shakespeare.

    Growing up in the American education system, they no idea who he was or what he wrote.
    Using this as an introduction, I showed them other movies and got their interest.
    I also was able to show them “Renascence Man” and they enjoyed THAT movie even more.

    SO take THAT Mister “television is an intellectual wasteland” !!!!!

    (And WOW! 164 responses in a day. We were all waiting for this one, weren’t we?) Alien

       0 likes

  • 166
    spap oop says:

    i tried watching this at least three times. fell asleep everytime. my conclusion? shakespeare kinda (really)Sucks.
    not even mike and the bots can rescue a Turd like Hamlet.

       0 likes

  • 167
    Mighty Jack says:

    I want to love every episode of MST3K and I have tried to love this one but it doesn’t do it for me. It is easily, and sadly, one of those rare MST failures. It simply doesn’t tickle my funny bone, and if your watching comedy and not laughing… well, that’s a bad sign Wink

    Thankfully there’s only a handful that fit that criterion.

       0 likes

  • 168
    MiqelDotCom says:

    Haikeeba!
    This is the first time i remember since i’ve been on this board that an episode has scored LESS THAN 4 STARS!

    I was starting to wonder if that would ever happen, though when we get back around to the KTMA episodes I predict a few will be rated 2 stars or less. Especially the one where it’s Joel all alone – sometimes it goes 5 minutes w/out a riff!

    I guess since this episode is the most polarizing this thread was sure to get some idiotic comments. The more we ignore the inflammatory comments from the occasional troll, the less we feed their attention-seeking addiction.

       0 likes

  • 169
    MiqelDotCom says:

    Oh, and I forgot to say that i tried 3 times this week to watch this episode, and failed each time. After 15 minutes my mind begins to wander. or I get sleepy.
    I can’t give it a rating because I literally can’t get through it. Glad to see some people enjoy it!

       0 likes

  • 170
    Rachel says:

    “Unstaple yourself!”
    “Hey c’mon man we’ve seen like eight ghosts, none of them have even been close to my dad.”

    Great episode. Crow as Polonuis’ “I can’t get rid of them, it’s hopeless” gets my boyfriend and I every time.

    “So uh, how’s the play going?”

       1 likes

  • 171
    spap oop says:

    unlike some posters who come here and comment on a mstied movie they didnt like and tell us all about it,i love every episode of mst3k.
    however,ive tried to watch Hamlet three times and fell asleep everytime.
    tonight i’ll mix up a double shot cappucino and maybe a double shot of something else,and try again.

       0 likes

  • 172
    Cornjob says:

    This version really is a death march through Shakespeare, but the riffing is good. I did some Drama in school and have been in more than one production of Hamlet. At this later stage of my life I am struck by what a weak hero Hamlet is. A little bit of decisiveness would have saved everybody a lot of grief.

       0 likes

  • 173
    Green Switch says:

    I enjoyed this episode, more or less. It’s not one of my top 30 episodes, but it’s certainly not deserving of the “WORST EPISODE EVER” title. I’ve read the play a lot, so that influences my opinion.

    On this site, this has become the most commented-on episode as of yet (surpassing “Werewolf”), even though we still have yet to talk about the series finale and the series premiere, as well as such important episodes as “Godzilla Vs. Megalon,” “Cave Dwellers,” “Pod People,” and “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.”

    It’s interesting that this episode has fostered so much discussion here.

       0 likes

  • 174
    MST3KnISLESfan1 says:

    I LOVED THIS EPISODE.I’ve watched the DVD several times and it’s still funny each time I watch it.The host segments were very good.Htom Sirveaux= too funny.”Alas Poor Who?”I don’t think Merv Griffin or Goodson & Todman (RIP)would’ve ever come up with a game show concept like that.And the riffing was spot on.When I showed this DVD to a friend of mine,she was worried she was gonna cry on acconut of it was “Hamlet”.I told her the only tears you might shed from this is from laughing too hard and I was right.

    Some of my favorite riffs:
    Htom:”Tonight,I’m gonna unleash the great dane.”
    CrowFrownAs Polonius walkls in on the king and queen)”What it is cold water on the groin,I mean Polonius?”
    (During the sword play as Crow becomes agitated by the lack of action.)”WILL YOU JUST FIGHT!!!!”

    And of course all the riffing during Hamlet’s “To be,or not to be” soliliquy was some of the best.Especially,Mike figuring out what it all meant.
    “So,I’m a chicken for not stabbing myself.THAT’S ALL YOU NEEDED TO SAY!!”

       2 likes

  • 175
    bdtrppr6 says:

    not the greatest but i do enjoy this ep. probably just the sheer darkness/tediousness of it, but it is hamlet. i love the “femcing” scene.

    and, yeah, why would you be reading and commenting on this site if you have only watched two episodes and hated both? “morons”

       1 likes

  • 176
    Tigermilk says:

    I just watched this episode last night, and I will again today. It IS a solid episode, with a few really good belly laughs. And it watching it again makes me want to read the play all over again.

    “Thank you for cooperating with the Copenhagen police, you can take off the wire now.”

    “So I’m just gonna, uh, take off then, so uh, yeah, just gonna take off,” as crazy Hamlet backs out of Ophelia’s closet.

    “Wow, Jackson Brown-let.”

    **** out of *****

       2 likes

  • 177
    Son of Bobo says:

    The MST Effect is still strong. Who knew how important of a seed would be planted into the network minds with the opening host segment. Tom Servo is now Htom Sirveux. Sci-Fi is now SyFy. Do not call it Sci-Fi, it will not respond to the old name.

       2 likes

  • 178
    Lloyd's Lungs says:

    Loved this episode. As yet unmentioned riff that makes me laugh whenever I randomly think about it, guaranteed:

    “Before you die, does my hand smell like Cheetos?”

       1 likes

  • 179
    dad1153 says:

    Saw “Hamlet” last night at 2AM after seeing “Racket Girls” for the first time (loved the latter: the ‘boing’ disappearing band in the short and stinger had me laughing like an idiot Alien ). The same thing happened than the previous five or six times I’ve tried to watch “Hamlet” from start to finish (going all the way back to the show’s Sci-Fi Channel premiere): I fell asleep halfway through the flick, awoke to watch the last 20 minutes and then watched the portions I missed afterwards. And Saturday overnights is when I’m usually most attentive to the movies I want to watch. Plus I really, really was in the mood to tackle it one more time with my eyes wide open.

    And yet I don’t think “Hamlet” is a bad MST3K episode (the good riffs really stand out among the mediocre one’s), just one in which the subject matter and dready B&W picture/sets combine to make it near-impossible to watch it in one sitting. It’s an experimental episode all right. It also doesn’t help that The Brains (a) reduce their jokes-per-minute ratio down to S1/S2 levels (maybe they didn’t want the audience unfamiliar with Shakesperean dialogue to be even more lost) and (b) their mockery seems stunted by too much respect for the source material. It just doesn’t feel like M&TB dig into this one with their usual zeal and creative juices flowing, but maybe there wasn’t enough lemonade that could be squeezed out of this sour German lemon. And maybe I’m high on World Cup fumes but for my money Maximilian Schell’s lead performance is very good (not Olivier good but decent given the scenery/language limitations) which limits The Brains’ ability to pile-on the riffs since Schell is on-scren most of the time. Ophelia on the other hand… Smile

       0 likes

  • 180
    DJurgServo says:

    Sitting Duck at 142 says/asks: “When Hamlet started his “To Be or Not to Be” soliliquey, Mike should have started walking out of the theater. Or would that have been too obscure a reference?” You’re talking about Mel Brooks “To Be or Not to Be”, right?? Loved that movie. Liked this episode. 3 out of 5 for me. Not the best, not the worst. Has anyone mentioned in the beginning when Hamlet and his buds are up on the “balcony” and Htom says something like, “There’s going to be railing kills!” Then I knew it would be all right.

       0 likes

  • 181
    Howard says:

    I got the feeling that the Brains threw in the towel and just sacrificed themselves by making really stupid quips, like hopeless high school kids. Some of the jokes are very funny but the bad ones are truly annoying to me. Like, “before you die, does my palm smell like Cheetos?” This is a rare episode where I find myself trying to watch the movie and being annoyed by the cretins who won’t shut up and let me enjoy it. And yet there are a few jokes that always make me laugh. Near the end, when the King approaches Hamlet: “And now the King peels of his skin and becomes a dinosaur from Mars!” And for some reason I think all the skits are funny too.

       0 likes

  • 182
    Sitting Duck says:

    DJurgServo, you would be correct. Though of course there’s also the orginal film starring Jack Benny. It’s a rare example of a good movie which had a good remake.

       0 likes

  • 183
    BeefStumpKnob says:

    Well, tried to watch again Saturday morning, same lackluster results. May be my least-favorite ep., but still better than 99% of todays programming, and 100% of all reality cr*p!

       0 likes

  • 184
    Howard says:

    #24: At one time the IMDb had the cause of death for the actress who played Ophelia as “suicide.” I wrote to them and asked them to correct it because it sounded like a Misty prank. Still does. She may not even be dead!

       0 likes

  • 185
    Howard says:

    The IMDb STILL has Dunja Movar’s cause of death as “suicide.” She seems to have committed suicide on her 23rd birthday. I don’t buy it, but who can say? There’s no article about her in English on the internet.

       0 likes

  • 186
    swh1939 says:

    Kind of an offshoot of the naughty riffs thread, Hamlet contains at least two riffs that are not PC:

    > Ah-so, I Japanese.

    > How’s lesbianism going?

       0 likes

  • 187
    Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    Howard (#184/185):

    If you’re going to tell the IMDb they’re wrong, maybe it would be a good idea to have evidence apart from the fact that you “don’t buy it.”

       1 likes

  • 188
    mikek says:

    One last thing about this episode. A very funny line in the final host segment with Kevin as a very mincing Fortinbras. After Fortinbras dies from the poison Pearl gives him, Brain Guy says, “He made me look butch.” It’s said so quietly that I don’t think I ever noticed that line before.

       0 likes

  • 189
    ReptilianSamurai says:

    When I saw this episode was coming up on the Tivo, I taped it to bring in to my high school English class. The teacher I had that year was awesome – he had shown an episode of Star Trek: TNG (Darmok) for a lesson before. We were reading Hamlet that year, AND were covering satire, so I thought MST3K: Hamlet would be perfect. He ended up showing a portion of the episode to the class, and the segment was hilarious and had everyone laughing.

    So I have great memories of this one, and have never understood why so many people loath the episode. It was a great experiment – doing a bad film of a classic play. Everyone knows Hamlet, and it’s awesome to see riffing on “To Be or not to Be” and other classic monologues.

       1 likes

  • 190
    Howard says:

    Steve Pop says: If you’re going to tell the IMDb they’re wrong, maybe it would be a good idea to have evidence apart from the fact that you “don’t buy it.”

    I entirely agree with you, however there is a lack of evidence (apart from her filmography) on any aspect of her life whatsoever. Being naturally verbose, I did not simply TELL them they’re wrong. I questioned the cause of death and suggested they were a victim of disinformation. The problem with IMDb is that it’s like Wikipedia — information is submitted by volunteers and posted before it can be checked by people who “know” the facts. So the fact remains that I’m skeptical of the alleged suicide of Dunja Molvar on her 23rd birthday. I can find no proof that she’s alive OR dead apart from this one notation on the IMDb.

       0 likes

  • 191
    ThorneSherman says:

    As Hamlet says, “the play’s the thing”…which is the whole point of the show, the movie’s the thing. Sure it’s a terrible production, badly paced, acted, directed, lit, etc, but watching M&TB do their thing makes it all worthwhile. I rated this lower than i usually do, but I still watch it now and then, because any episode of this show is good for whatever might ail me that day.

    It’s amusing and kind of sad to see a couple people come here and try to flame the fans, because clearly they don’t see the point of this site, or maybe the show itself. Certainly it can’t be expected for everyone to see these episodes in exactly the same light, different riffs will resonate with different people, and the movies themselves will be seen in different lights by most everyone here.

       1 likes

  • 192
    bobhoncho says:

    Ah, the lastest episode that I have on DVD. I put this ep in the “Good-not-great” category myself. My aunt, who is a big MSTie, has said that this is one of her favorite episodes, go figure.

       0 likes

  • 193
    ChaoticYak says:

    I’ve been watching MST3K episodes on YouTube for about the last year, getting in all the episodes I hadn’t ever seen, and reading this site to get the lowdown on the episodes. I’m surprised to read some of the vehemence about this episode.

    This is the second episode I ever saw back when MST3K was on the SciFi channel (the first was the excellent Werewolf), and while it was definitely slow in comparison, I really enjoy watching it. I like Shakespeare, but I think he’s often overrated and this gives M&TB a chance to poke at a play that is far from my favorite of the Bard. The riffs on the sets (or lack thereof), the costumes, the acting (or lack thereof) are a lot of fun (“I’ll cut his throat a church!”)…I think it’s wonderful to see them take on such a different type of movie, and I must admit that I’m surprised the SciFi Channel let them do it.

    I wouldn’t put it at the top of my list of favorite episodes, but I like it.

       1 likes

  • 194
    interval says:

    I’m with trickymutha, Movar was one hot chick. I’ve tried to find out more about her; info on her is very sparse. As trickymutha said she died young. All the detail I could find on her is that she was born in Leipzig on Mar. 30th, 1940, and committed suicide on her birthday in 1963. So there’s got to be a story there, I’m so curious to know what it is. She had roles in 5 German films before offing herself; Der Engel, der siene Harfe versetzte, O Wildnis, Lampenfeiber, Hamlet, and Die Kleined Fucshe. If anyone know more about her it would be great to hear from you.

       0 likes

  • 195
    Maxwell says:

    I found this episode good, but not the nest. The thing I really found funny in this one is the host segments!

       0 likes

  • 196
    robot rump! says:

    i agree with Sampo. given that it’s a 50’s-60’s german black and white adaptation, the movie/tv show isn’t as horrible as it could have been. granted a dozen or so flamboyantly dancing Hitlers might have spiced it up a bit…..

       2 likes

  • 197
    Shrike says:

    It’s dour, it’s dreary, it’s dark and dank…and it’s friggin’ hilarious. I love this episode. For those who hate, I raise my epee and yell a hearty “Whatever!”

       4 likes

  • 198
    Sean says:

    I still maintain that the worst episode they ever did was Final Justice. I actually really like this episode, even more so since we did it in my college class recently.

       1 likes

  • 199
    Sitting Duck says:

    Hamlet fails the Bechdel Test. Gertrude and Ophelia are the only female characters with speaking roles (aside from the brief line from the lesbian clown), and they never converse.

    It’s been pretty well established that this episode is the most divisive example of Sampo’s Theorum. I’m firmly in the enjoy camp. However, I would like to add that I believe the MST3K presentation is the most authentic experience of Shakespeare theater. The sort of people who attended the Globe were not pretentious theater majors trying to delude themselves into believing that Edward de Vere was the real author. No, they were regular Joes like you and me looking for some quality entertainment. And they were not likely to restrain themselves from heckling the performers, perhaps even pelting them with debris for good measure.

    I don’t get the complaints about it being dour and dreary. It’s Hamlet! While not possessing the same wrist-slitting despair as King Lear or Othello, it is suppose to be a tragedy.

    Regarding the “Something is rotten in this state of Denmark,” riff, I came across a better alternative a while back. It comes from The Torch of Freedom by David Weber and Eric Flint, which is part of an offshoot from the former’s Honor Harrington series. Anyway, the protagonists are speculating on the motives behind the antagonist organization’s recent actions. Specifically on how their scheme to all appearances would have had no benefit even if had been successful. One of the characters concludes that there must be some deeper secret motive of which they’re currently unaware and finishes off by stating, “Something is rotten in this state of Demark.” Another character fails to recognize the reference and asks what a rotten state of Denmark is. Another chimes in saying that she thinks it’s that nasty cheese they make, but has no idea what it has to do with anything.

    Favorite riffs

    Is that Hamlet?
    No, that’s his friend Riblet.

    Censors were shocked by the blatant carnality in this film.

    You’re not my real dad.

    You can brood here. I’m done.

    Why were you looking at his like?

    Get him, Ham! Kick his ass!

    “My lord, I do think I have found the very cause of Hamlet’s lunacy.”
    He’s insane.

    “To sleep.”
    Yeah, that’s what we’re doing right now, bub.

    Danish clowns. The damp, smelly, silverfish-infested basement of the clown world.

    “About my brains…”
    Upon which I sit.

    And now The Tragedy of King Vitamin

    I’ll come back later to see if he’s drinking and whoring, and then I’ll kill him.

    “How wretched, rash, intruding fool.”
    Oh right, it’s my fault you killed me.

    Come on, you wuss. I didn’t cry after I killed your dad.

    Losertes!
    Craplet!

    “To cut his throat in a church!”
    Now see, that’s a little over the top.

    “Now the king drinks to Hamlet.”
    Hell, the king drinks to anything.

    But it’s Cherry Flavored Kids Poison. He should love it.

    My nipple came off, you jerk!

    Long blame the king!

    Hamlet will be back in Thunderball!

       1 likes

  • 200
    itsspideyman says:

    I’m one of those that enjoyed this episode, and the last third from the moment they’re plotting the poison to the sword fight is gold.

    “My pattented spaz move!”

    “C’mon sweet meat! C’mon!”

    “Will you just go ahead and fight!?!?!!”

    Very good stuff. Smile

       2 likes

  • 201
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    IMHO a Ricardo Montalban appearance without at least two “Fantasy Island” riffs might as well not be a Ricardo Montalban appearance at all.

    #203:
    “Lesbian clown”? That part somehow eluded me.

       0 likes

  • 202
    David J says:

    This episode reminds me of watching a RiffTrax of a popular movie. You end up waiting for certain famous lines with anticipation, wondering what the joke will be.

       2 likes

  • 203
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    Not my favorite episode, but I think it’s OK.

       0 likes

  • 204
    Rachel says:

    I like Hamlet. There, I said it; I’d say it again if I had to.

       5 likes

  • 205
    snowdog says:

    I’ve defended this ep in the past, but re-watching it last night, I couldn’t wait for it to end. They could have at least hired some teenagers to paint a backdrop or two. Nope! Black. Everything must suck in as much of the light as possible. It was like watching Red Zone Cuba:

    “‘Tis a pity, say I, that didst this Griffin run every furlong to Hades, with naught but tupence and a broken cigarette!”

    Btw, is it wrong that MST3K is my only real exposure to Hamlet?

       1 likes

  • 206
    Rich says:

    I just realized that another problem with Hamlet is the sheer density of the dialog. I had to pay attention to have any idea what was going on. I’m not used to working that hard for my entertainment. Add that to the other problems (well-explained by others) and I find this one to be a chore.

       0 likes

  • 207
    Darkknight says:

    This one is very, very painful to watch. I recently finished watching every episode in order and I was dreading having to watch this one. Many episodes I’ve watched several times. This one I’ve seen twice and that’s more than enough.

       1 likes

  • 208
    Bruce Boxliker says:

    Long blame the King!

    I love this episode! Hilarious all the way through. I can’t understand the hate for it, but too each their own, I suppose. Though, how can anyone think any episode is worse or more boring than Hellcats? I literally cannot watch that episode. It’s not just the awful movie, but the riffs are really lacking, too. I know there’s a reason for that, so I forgive them. I still won’t watch that episode again (maybe if I ever do another full in-order run of the series).

    Also, someone snuck us a Banner-Gram!

    @96 Jake Sisco –
    The actor playing Horatio was Karl Michael Vogler, who played Rommel in Patton. After all of the “you magnificent bastard, I read your book!” riffs (and variations thereof) they did over the years, I was surprised they didn’t pick up on that.

    I didn’t know that! My granduncle is George S. Patton, so I’ve always loved the Patton references.

    We’ll be seeking volunteers to rule Denmark now!

       2 likes

  • 209
    Sitting Duck says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves #201: #203:
    “Lesbian clown”? That part somehow eluded me.

    We have a time traveller in out midst! Actually it’s probably just that Sampo deleted some spammers after that was posted. But now back to our regularly scheduled response. I was referring to the bit where Hamlet is talking to the clowns, and there’s this one who looks like a woman with a stereotypical lesbian hairdo which gets remarked on by the riffers.

       0 likes

  • 210
    sol-survivor says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, given a choice of watching Hamlet or The Final Sacrifice, Hamlet will win every time.

       1 likes

  • 211
    JC says:

    My favorite episodes are the ones where they make something out of nothing, like The Starfighters or Manos or anything by Coleman Francis. This episode doesn’t approach that level of greatness, but it holds its own for the same basic reason. The movie is a dreary, Kafka-esque black hole that sucks all hope and joy out of the universe, so it’s that much more remarkable that there are so many great lines. The host segments are of the “quaint” variety, but Crow’s exasperated “DON’T YOUR RELATIVES EVER DIE?!” is a classic line. Disappointed that they couldn’t do more with the “To Be or Not to Be” speech, and I think they leaned a bit too much on the “bluer” comments Sci-fi was letting them get away with at this point… but I laughed and was entertained, and I didn’t ask for a whole lot more.

    “Halt! Unstaple yourself!”
    “Night fever, night fever/We know how to do it…”
    “Meet the Beatles.”
    “Please pray for me while I shower.”
    “I stuck a fork in the outlet.”
    “Her card tricks aren’t really impressive with sleeves like that.”
    “Oh hi, Cold Water on the Groin. I mean, Polonius.”
    “My head-cake almost fell off!”
    “It’s a herd of Hamlets!”
    “Now… the king peels off his skin and becomes a dinosaur from Mars!! Oh, guess not.”

       1 likes

  • 212
    JC says:

    Also, what’s the deal with the Brains apparently LOVING this episode? It was shown approximately every other week toward the end of MST3K’s run on Scifi, it was one of the first Scifi episodes to be released on home video, it was in the first DVD set of Scifi episodes released by Rhino, and it’s one of the episodes Retro TV got ahold of. I assume the movie is public domain; very weird that the producers wouldn’t want to hang onto the rights to a Maximilian Schell performance.

       1 likes

  • 213
    thequietman says:

    I’ll always consider it a missed opportunity, but I remember when this episode came up for the final time during the reruns on Sci-Fi I was in high school and our English class was studying Hamlet. The thought crossed my mind of taping this and bringing it in to show ‘the lighter side of Shakespeare’ or something. But for whatever reason I didn’t tape it. I think the episode’s release on DVD by Rhino around that same time was a factor, perhaps I thought I could get a better copy. However, I still wonder what my teacher and classmates would have made of it!

       0 likes

  • 214
    GROGNARD says:

    I remember when I heard mst3k was going to do this I figured it couldn’t be that bad….. Then i actually saw it. Wow! Bad set design, bad lighting. But then I heard a voice that said “Moe, Larry and Horatio” and everything was right with the world.

       1 likes

  • 215
    GROGNARD says:

    Mr. Volger was also in “The Blue Max” w/ George Peppard.

       0 likes

  • 216
    pondoscp says:

    It’s all about the Montalban and the Banner, folks. This episode is best served being watched with a group, it helps keep the energy up. I really warmed up to this one on my recent viewing. I do think it’s hilarious that this episode is part of the new syndicated package.

    All in all, it’s really not that bad of an episode. Find an element to latch onto, and go with it. It’s fun, starchy, pork-filled Hamlet!

    And wasn’t one of the final Monty Python episodes “Hamlet”? There you go.

       0 likes

  • 217

    As much as I still consider this to be a kind of boring episode, I find it to be better than some other experiments (Corpse Vanishes, Ring of Terror, Castle of Fu Manchu, WWW of Batwoman) and not even the worst thing they did during the Sci-Fi years (I like Hamlet better than, say, Leech Woman or Thing that Couldn’t Die). Over the years my appreciation of Hamlet has lifted up from a “don’t like it” to the level of a “it has its moments.”

    Hamlet isn’t regular rotation material for me, but watching it every four years or so seems to do the trick.

    The movie is drab and dreary, sure, but no more so than about a dozen other MST episodes. What gets me though is how WORDY the movie is (which Mike and the Bots riff on a bit) and how that creates gaps between some of the riffing, slowing down their usual speed. Up at my post #131, I mention it’s comparable to KTMA, but that’s a bit of hyperbole. It does seem, however, that Mike and the Bots are “watching” the movie a bit more than other Sci-Fi entries, which drags an already draggy movie.

    -Update on my shopping list from four years ago (also post #131): I got my license plates and my brakes fixed, but now I need fluids and hoses replaced, spark plugs too (probably some other things). I decided to not go to grad school (’cause it’s stupid), I paid all my bills (and still do regularly), got a new record player two Christmases ago, and I got that new pair of shoes, although now it is time for another new pair.

    Anyway,
    back to HAMLET.

    The Host Segments are okay: the ghost of Mike’s dad in HS#1 is slightly amusing, the percussion Hamlet in HS#2 is “meh,” and HS#3 with the game “Alas Poor, WHO?” is clever fun, but the skit goes on too long. I like the shout-outs to Biz Markie and Nancy Allen (I saw Nancy Allen at a screening of Carrie a few weeks ago; she still looks GREAT!). The “find the lady” bit of distraction in the Opening Segment is good too (“go ahead on”) and Kevin popping in as whatshisname in the Closing Segment is also funny.


    RIFFS:

    Crow: “Time for starchy, pork-filled, German Hamlet.”

    Crow: “Ladies and gentlemen, Patti LaBelle!”

    Hamlet head nod,
    Mike: “Hey, how’s it goin’, Debbie?”

    Mike: “Hey, c’mon, man, we’ve seen, like, eight ghosts, none of them have been close to my dad.”

    Mike: “Trick or treat for nipples.”

    Crow: “Dad, Hamlet’s looking at me.”

    Crow: “He’s like an Oliver Reed stand-in.”

    Mike: “Run DM-C. Everett Koop.”

    movie: “if Hamlet hits…”
    Servo: “We’ll do a sequel.”

    Servo: “I am so baked.”

    Crow: “Is there a word in the English language he hasn’t said?”


    Hamlet.
    Now with 50% more Danish Clowns.

    This is my least favorite episode of Season 10,
    but not my least favorite episode ever.
    It’s middle of the road, sure, but still,
    I find myself giving it
    3 out of 5 poor Yoricks.
    Skeleton Skeleton Skeleton

       2 likes

  • 218
    bobhoncho says:

    I kind of have a problem with the “Moe, Larry and Horatio” riff in this movie. Bernardo looks more like Curly to me, and it’s Horatio who looks like Moe. So, the riff really should be “Moe, Francisco and Curly.”

    Sorry to nitpick. I’m done.

       0 likes

  • 219
    goalieboy82 says:

    now is the winter of our discontent
    oh damn wrong play (and movie, which by the way i rented from netflix and will be here tomorrow).

       1 likes

  • 220
    Depressing Aunt says:

    #209 So, this is a reference to when prepubescent boys played the female parts back in Shakespeare’s day, right? This “lesbian clown” is just such an actor, only for this production, they cast a woman. She looks and sounds exactly like a woman, but we’re supposed to buy that Hamlet thinks she’s a boy!

    Well, I doubt I have anything original to say about this episode. I do kind of like the way Mike and the bots play Hamlet as a bratty teenager. I guess if the word “emo” had been around back then, it would certainly have been put to good use here. But really, it’s not a very involving episode, it just kind of washes over me. I think their hearts were in the right place to try riffing Shakespeare. I can’t imagine any of the writers predicting they’d get such an opportunity.

    Hamlet: Speak! I’ll go no further.
    Mike (as ghost): That’s not what I hear, sunshine.

    Hamlet barks something after killing Polonius
    Mike, as growly Mel Gibson movie catchphrase: Give me back my son! Grin

    I will now look over as many comments here as I can, to find out why Danish royal people, apparently, used to put pearls in cups and make toasts with them. I do NOT remember learning the reason why in college or high school, sadly.

       0 likes

  • 221
    Depressing Aunt says:

    I forgot to mention this important fact: On last viewing, I thought the actor playing Laertes looked as much like Jeremy Renner as he did Simon Le Bon.

       0 likes

  • 222
    swh1939 says:

    Just re-read my initial post from almost four years ago. Who knew I could write as well as that? Certainly not me, hehe.

    Thanks, everyone, for all those ‘likes’. Smile Grin Laugh Dance

       1 likes

  • 223
    GonzoRedux says:

    I re-watched it recently for the first time since 1999, having bad memories of it on the first run. I was happily surprised how much I liked it.

    The funny thing is, I don’t think I liked it so much as an MST fan, but as a Shakespeare fan. It’s really the one movie the Brains did (I’m guessing) where they felt the need to show a bit of reverence for the source material. Not that the comedy isn’t always plenty cerebral on MST3K, but here it largely had to be honed towards one particular subject–Shakespearean drama–and they just did a darn nice job of it. It also proved that the Brains’ nerdyness is both wide and deep.

    Definitely not a favorite episode, but I’m glad they were willing to experiment, even towards the end.

       1 likes

  • 224
    JPB1 says:

    My biggest problem with this one is I could barely hear the dialogue of the movie the whole time, so that caused a lot of the riffs to make no sense to me. Maybe I had a bad copy.

       0 likes

  • 225
    Dan in WI says:

    Say what you will about this episode but I really do enjoy the setup. Pearl has her killer virus but just can’t avoid the temptation of three card Monte. And Mike does a wonderful job of selling it. This is easily my favorite opening of the tenth season. But alas, Mike blows it and gives Pearl her choice of which Hamlet to send. Just think, if he would have insisted on a good version we would have had our first Rifftrax Challenge 10 years sooner.

    Now here’s a dumb question: Why dub this into English in the first place. There are so many versions of this who actually said “What this world needs is an English version of the German made for TV version of Hamlet including bad lip sinking and all?” I really want the answer to this one.

    I have to concur with Kevin, Alas Poor Who was pretty week.

    Favorite Riffs:
    A line of dialog is spoken. Crow “That’s from Hamlet isn’t it?”

    The great soliloquy drags on. Htom “Sum up.”

    Mike commenting on the Queen’s hair. “Hail Queen Dilbert’s boss.”

    Ophelia is losing it. Crow “She’s trying to section 8 her way out of the movie.”

    Mike as Harry Carrey sings “Take me out to the sword fight.”

    Mike sarcastically leaving the theater “Nice play Shakespeare.”

       1 likes

  • 226
    pondoscp says:

    This site never fails to make me laugh. All the comments of “this episode is right down there with….,” and every episode that people say is “worse” than this or as “bad” as this, I love those episodes! It just goes to show that no two MSTies tastes are the same, and apparently, most of the time, not even close!

    “I can’t sit through this one” Lightweights! Pearl and Dr.F would have easily conquered the world if you were the ones sent into space! If all it takes is Hamlet to crush your soul, the Mads would have won! You must build up a tolerance! Make those lemons into lemonade! Join in at home if the riffs aren’t doing it for you! We can’t let the Mads win! You would think that after 10 seasons of some really whacked out movies, that a seasoned MSTie would be able to take on Hamlet with no problem, just like M&TB do!

    “But it’s hurting me, the movie is hurting me!” – everyone who does not like this episode needs to go sit through Castle Of Fu Manchu and Red Zone Cuba at least 30 times and grow a thicker skin! Gypsy is counting on us! Let no movie crush your spirit! Raise your leather mug high, and let your freak flag fly, and never ever ever steal something wet, I mean, never let the Mads win! Why, I could do a Coleman Francis marathon wrapped up with Monster A Go Go and Sidehackers on the side and not budge! And I love Kitten With A Whip too! So bring on your worst, Mads, you’ll never stop me! Hahaha!

    “This movie should have been an emotional knee-capping for them, but they thrive on it, they grow more confident!”

    Now excuse me while I go have a Metaluna mixer…..

       8 likes

  • 227
    pondoscp says:

    This may very well be the ultimate “Graduate Level Episode”

    That, or K04. But I kid K04…

       0 likes

  • 228
    pondoscp says:

    Whoops, I meant K05

       0 likes

  • 229
    Erhardt says:

    #226 – Your’e experiencing an observation that Sampo made back in the Nineties that I immediately dubbed “Sampo’s Theorem”:

    For every MSTie who thinks a particular episode is the worst thing MST3K has ever done, there is another who believes it is their finest hour.

    Some people think that I should rename it “Sampo’s Law” because it’s been proven to be true over and over again.

       9 likes

  • 230
    Cornjob says:

    Am I the only one that thinks Pearl’s super virus looks a lot like Herbert West’s Re-Animation fluid?

    As a melancholic disposed towards excessive rumination and concern for unforeseen consequences I can relate to indecision, but I like to think that I can recognize when a decision, even if it’s not the best one, needs to made. Not so our hero this week. Hamlet is certainly no action hero. Even I was wanting to yell at him, “For Crying Out Loud Stop Monologue-ing and DO SOMETHING!!! Kill the King! Kill yourself! Ask your Mom out! Take up Salsa Dancing! Or say screw it and move to Minnesota! Just do something!!!!! Jeez. Oh wait, never mind, everyone’s dead, including you. Good one” I’d hate to go to dinner with Hamlet, he’d never be ready to order. And when he was he’d get an order of poison for both of us.

       7 likes

  • 231
    Duane Zykov says:

    This episode is damn enjoyable. Yeah, there’s a lot of dead space, but that just makes the riffs that hit that much funnier. I do admit the movie is pretty bleak, and the constant audio crackling hurts my ears after a bit.

    One thing I noted on this viewing is that the theater segment after host segment 1 is shorter than usual – it’s only around 13 minutes. Wonder why.

       1 likes

  • 232
    BIG61AL says:

    Hamlet… you either love it or hate it…Is this episode unwatchable? The answer is no but this is a really hard movie to choke down. It’s not their best effort but they tried and that’s good enough.

       1 likes

  • 233
    Creeping-Death says:

    It’s not a favorite, but I didn’t think it was a terrible episode and not worthy of the hate it gets, I’d classify it as “Average”.

    Favorite lines:

    Mike(as Hamlet): How about some spiral cut Hamlet?

    Servo(as Ophelia): This was supposed to be a duck.

    Servo(as Hamlet): Ugh. I stuck a fork in the outlet.

    Mike (as Hamlet): Oh, man. Me and Horatio got blasted on aquavit — woke up on the express bus to Copenhagen.

    Riffs that make you want to slap them:
    Ophelia: My prince…
    Servo (as Ophelia): … are back from Fotomat.

       3 likes

  • 234
    Sitting Duck says:

    Several years back, there was an article in Smithsonian on the whole Who Wrote Shakespeare debate. It was overall very evenhanded in presenting the arguments of both sides. However, it gets noted that the evidence supporting de Vere as the true author is, to put it kindly, purely speculative. I’m not so kind, so I call it wishful thinking. I also like how one scholar points out that the material that can definitely be attributed to de Vere ranges in quality from mediocre to Gawdawful.

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/to-be-or-not-to-be-shakespeare-127247606/?all

       0 likes

  • 235
    pondoscp says:

    I’d say I’m more on board with @233, Hamlet is average

       0 likes

  • 236
    thequietman says:

    I sat down and watched this episode tonight. I too have found it really slow in stretches (particularly the graveyard scene), but then again I’ve never struggled to stay awake and this time around it didn’t actually feel overly long at all. Maybe it’s because I became so familiar with this episode during the final rundown of SciFi airings yet had not watched in a long time, but I enjoyed it. It may not be “Werewolf” or “Mitchell” or even “Laserblast” but it still works.

       1 likes

  • 237
    Cornjob says:

    Re#229

    It is Sampo LAW!!

       1 likes

  • 238
    ready4sumfootball says:

    I wonder if how much one likes this episode is related in any way to how much one can handle Shakespeare. I get in my occasional Shakespeare moods every once in a while, so I think this can be a fun episode to watch. Plus they shortened the play down to less than half of its usual running time, so if you’re familiar enough with watching Hamlet already it actually feels relatively fast paced in comparison.

       1 likes

  • 239
    pondoscp says:

    I was more making a statement about willpower, not such much about liking or not liking. More along the lines of we must defeat “DEEP HURTING.”
    Because, let’s face it, J&TB/M&TB never cared much for the movies they were forced to watch, either.

       0 likes