Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

PG-13 | 111 mins | Comedy | 7 May 1993

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HISTORY

Opening credits are preceded by title cards featuring the lyrics of "Sigh No More, Ladies," a song within the play.
       According to the 17 Aug 1993 DV, actor-turned-filmmaker Kenneth Branagh began pitching a screen adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in 1990. The project marked Branagh’s second Shakespearean adaptation after 1989’s Henry V. A 2 May 1993 LAT article noted the filmmaker chose Much Ado About Nothing for its accessibility, stating that three quarters of the play is in prose and, as described by Branagh, “very easy on the ear.” When the screenplay circulated, it received criticism from some financiers for being too dialogue-heavy. After Walt Disney Pictures and Paramount Pictures passed, The Samuel Goldwyn Company came on board to finance and distribute. The 24 Feb 1992 Var stated the arrangement was part of a two-picture deal, to include Branagh’s upcoming release, Peter’s Friends (1992, see entry).
       The production budget for Much Ado About Nothing was listed as between $10 million and $15 million. According to the 27 Jul 1992 Var and 13 Oct 1993 HR, Goldwyn controlled worldwide distribution rights, with the exception of U.K. rights, which were sold to Branagh’s production company, Renaissance Films. Although Goldwyn greenlighted the picture without any partners, American Playhouse Theatrical Films and Columbia TriStar Home Video later provided funding when Playhouse paid $550,000 for initial television broadcast rights, and Columbia purchased home video rights for an estimated $1.65 million. Together, the sales provided roughly twenty percent of the production budget. According to a 1 Jul 1993 DV ... More Less

Opening credits are preceded by title cards featuring the lyrics of "Sigh No More, Ladies," a song within the play.
       According to the 17 Aug 1993 DV, actor-turned-filmmaker Kenneth Branagh began pitching a screen adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in 1990. The project marked Branagh’s second Shakespearean adaptation after 1989’s Henry V. A 2 May 1993 LAT article noted the filmmaker chose Much Ado About Nothing for its accessibility, stating that three quarters of the play is in prose and, as described by Branagh, “very easy on the ear.” When the screenplay circulated, it received criticism from some financiers for being too dialogue-heavy. After Walt Disney Pictures and Paramount Pictures passed, The Samuel Goldwyn Company came on board to finance and distribute. The 24 Feb 1992 Var stated the arrangement was part of a two-picture deal, to include Branagh’s upcoming release, Peter’s Friends (1992, see entry).
       The production budget for Much Ado About Nothing was listed as between $10 million and $15 million. According to the 27 Jul 1992 Var and 13 Oct 1993 HR, Goldwyn controlled worldwide distribution rights, with the exception of U.K. rights, which were sold to Branagh’s production company, Renaissance Films. Although Goldwyn greenlighted the picture without any partners, American Playhouse Theatrical Films and Columbia TriStar Home Video later provided funding when Playhouse paid $550,000 for initial television broadcast rights, and Columbia purchased home video rights for an estimated $1.65 million. Together, the sales provided roughly twenty percent of the production budget. According to a 1 Jul 1993 DV article, initial prints and advertising costs were $2 million.
       The ensemble cast was paid on a “most-favored nations” basis, with equal salaries plus a portion of “back-end revenue.”
       Prinicipal photography began 3 Aug 1992. The film was shot in eight weeks at the Villa Vignamaggio in Greve in Chianti, Italy, where temperatures reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit nearly every day during the last month of filming, as noted in a 28 Sep 1992 Newsday brief. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that a small chapel, an “Etruscan-style open air bath house,” a fountain, and formal gardens were added to the site. Prison scenes were shot in a converted wine cellar. According to a 2 May 1993 NYT article, the Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous portrait, was painted at the Villa Vignamaggio, and during filming, Branagh stayed in the bedroom where Lisa Gherardini Giocondo – the subject of Da Vinci’s painting – had stayed. Filming wrapped the week of 21 Sep 1992.
       In early 1993, Warner Bros. Pictures executives screened the film and expressed interest in distributing it. However, after rounds of negotiations, Goldwyn decided to handle distribution itself.
       Prior to theatrical release, Much Ado About Nothing screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, as noted in the 26 Apr 1993 DV review. The film was also shown at the annual Shakespeare Society of America convention in Atlanta, GA, as noted in the 17 Aug 1993 DV. A Los Angeles, CA, premiere took place on 10 May 1993 at the Mann National Theater, raising $40,000-$50,000 for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) film department, according to a 12 May 1993 LAT item, and the film was screened as the closing night finale of the 36th San Francisco International Film Festival on 13 May 1993, and the following night at the Seattle Film Festival.
       A platform theatrical release began 7 May 1993 in New York City, followed by a 14 May 1993 opening in Los Angeles, bringing the release to a total of eleven screens, according to the 11 May 1993 LAT. The release widened to over twenty screens in several other major cities on Memorial Day weekend. By Fourth of July weekend, it was set to expand to 200 screens, according to a 1 Jul 1993 DV article, and finally to 400 screens on 24 Sep 1993, as noted in the 15 Sep 1993 HR. Overseas, Much Ado About Nothing enjoyed a rare, four-week run in Moscow, Russia, at the American Trade Center, where ticket sales had to be conducted in U.S. dollars.
       On 29 Sep 1993, Goldwyn launched a special educational promotion to attract high school and college students, by offering discounted student admissions and free study guides.
       Critical reception was positive. Commercially, the film fared exceptionally well for a Shakespeare adaptation. As noted in a 17 Jun 1993 WSJ item, Samuel Goldywn Co. called Much Ado About Nothing “the fastest grossing ‘art’ film ever,” and by 13 Oct 1993, HR reported a cumulative box-office gross of $22.1 million.
       A $200,000 Academy Awards “for your consideration” campaign was launched in Sep 1993, according to a 31 Oct 1993 LAT article. Over the course of several weeks, postcards, soundtrack CD’s, color brochures, and home video copies of the film were sent to AMPAS’s 4,5000 voting members. However, the film received no Academy Award nominations.
       As stated in the 15 Sep 1993 HR, W. W. Norton published a book containing Branagh’s screenplay, notes, and still production photographs.
       End credits include the following statements: “Filmed entirely on location at Villa Vignamaggio, Greve in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy”; and, “Special Thanks: Gianni Nunziante, Sammie Daniels, Carla Bani, Sam Mughal, Guido Semplici, Tom Redfern, Martin-Bruce Clayton.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
26 Apr 1993
p. 2, 12.
Daily Variety
29 Apr 1993.
---
Daily Variety
25 May 1993.
---
Daily Variety
1 Jul 1993
p. 1, 12.
Daily Variety
17 Aug 1993
p. I-42.
Daily Variety
17 Aug 1993
p. I-44.
Daily Variety
17 Aug 1993
p. I-46.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 1993
p. 6, 16.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 1993
p. 4, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Oct 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 May 1993
Calendar, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
11 May 1993
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
12 May 1993
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
12 May 1993
Section E, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
14 May 1993
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
31 Oct 1993
Calendar, p. 20.
New York Times
2 May 1993
Section A, p. 15.
New York Times
7 May 1993
p. 16.
Newsday
28 Sep 1992
p. 11.
San Francisco Focus
May 1993.
---
Variety
24 Feb 1992.
---
Variety
27 Jul 1992.
---
Variety
3 May 1993
pp. 39-40.
WSJ
17 Jun 1993
Section A, p. 1.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
The Samuel Goldwyn Company Presents
A Renaissance Films Production
A Kenneth Branagh Film
By William Shakespeare
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Co-2d asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
Adpt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Steadicam op
Focus puller
2d focus puller
2d focus puller
Clapper loader
2d grip
Cam eng
Stills photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Elec
Arriflex 535 cam and Zeiss lenses supplied by
London
Arriflex 535 cam and Zeiss lenses supplied by
London
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept translator
Graphic des
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
1st asst ed
Jobfit trainee ed
Negative cutter
Negative cutter
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Props buyer
Prop master
Standby prop man
Prop man
Const mgr
Charge hand carpenter
Standby carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Charge hand painter
Standby painter
Charge hand plasterer
Plasterer
Plasterer
Plasterers labourer
Rigger
Standby stagehand
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Asst cost des
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
Cost maker
Cost maker
Cost maker
Cost maker
MUSIC
Preview mus ed
Mus supv
Air-Edel Associates Ltd.
Mus orch
Addl orch
Mus cond by
Mus eng
Asst mus eng
Musicians assembled by
Mus rec at
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Sd asst
Dubbing ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Dial ed
Dial ed
Asst dubbing ed
Asst dial ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Trumpet eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Digital eff
DANCE
Choreog
Asst choreog
MAKEUP
Make-up supv
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Hairdresser
Asst hairdresser
Asst hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Italian prod mgr
Italian loc mgr
Scr supv
Unit runner
Unit runner
Prod consultant
Text consultant
Prod accountant
Account asst
Account asst
Italian fiscal representative
for Filmaudit
Chief groom
Groom
Asst to Mr. Branagh
London coord
Prod secy
Prod asst
Asst to Ms. Roditi
Unit pub
Press representative
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Transport
Unit doctor
Unit nurse
Unit translator
Completion bonding by
Insurances by
STAND INS
Fight dir
Stunt coord
Stunt man
Mr. Washington's double
COLOR PERSONNEL
Grader
Processing by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Adapted from the play Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (London, 17th Century).
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 May 1993
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 7 May 1993
Los Angeles premiere: 10 May 1993
Los Angeles opening: 14 May 1993
Production Date:
3 August--late September 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Renaissance Films, PLC, & Samuel Goldwyn Company
Copyright Date:
21 May 1993
Copyright Number:
PA617145
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
111
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At his country villa in Messina, Italy, Leonato gets word that his friend, Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, will arrive that evening, having won a war waged against him by his half-brother. Leonardo’s niece, the quick-witted Beatrice, and his daughter, Hero, join other women at the villa for a bath. Soon after, Don Pedro arrives in the courtyard, accompanied by Signior Benedick of Padua, Signior Claudio of Florence, and Don Pedro’s half-brother, Don John, who has begrudgingly joined them after losing the battle. Beatrice, who has sworn off men, banters with Benedick, a confirmed bachelor, while Claudio eyes the beautiful Hero. Don Pedro announces his court will stay at least a month, and his hosts rejoice. Claudio pulls Benedick aside to confess his love for Hero, but Benedick discourages him from marrying so young. Don Pedro walks in on the conversation. Disagreeing with Benedick, he promises to woo Hero on Claudio’s behalf, and obtain Leonato’s blessing for their engagement. A masquerade is held in Don Pedro’s honor. Recognizing Benedick behind his mask, Beatrice teases him by making disparaging comments about him as if she is talking to someone else. Meanwhile, Don John has vowed to create mischief in his brother’s court. Getting word that Claudio plans to propose marriage to Hero, he sabotages the union by convincing Claudio that Don Pedro is wooing Hero for himself. However, Don Pedro allays Claudio’s fears when he presents Hero as Claudio’s future bride, and announces that Leonato condones the marriage. Watching the happy couple kiss for the first time, Beatrice is overjoyed. She teases Don Pedro, inviting him to match her with a husband, and he asks if she would marry him. ... +


At his country villa in Messina, Italy, Leonato gets word that his friend, Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, will arrive that evening, having won a war waged against him by his half-brother. Leonardo’s niece, the quick-witted Beatrice, and his daughter, Hero, join other women at the villa for a bath. Soon after, Don Pedro arrives in the courtyard, accompanied by Signior Benedick of Padua, Signior Claudio of Florence, and Don Pedro’s half-brother, Don John, who has begrudgingly joined them after losing the battle. Beatrice, who has sworn off men, banters with Benedick, a confirmed bachelor, while Claudio eyes the beautiful Hero. Don Pedro announces his court will stay at least a month, and his hosts rejoice. Claudio pulls Benedick aside to confess his love for Hero, but Benedick discourages him from marrying so young. Don Pedro walks in on the conversation. Disagreeing with Benedick, he promises to woo Hero on Claudio’s behalf, and obtain Leonato’s blessing for their engagement. A masquerade is held in Don Pedro’s honor. Recognizing Benedick behind his mask, Beatrice teases him by making disparaging comments about him as if she is talking to someone else. Meanwhile, Don John has vowed to create mischief in his brother’s court. Getting word that Claudio plans to propose marriage to Hero, he sabotages the union by convincing Claudio that Don Pedro is wooing Hero for himself. However, Don Pedro allays Claudio’s fears when he presents Hero as Claudio’s future bride, and announces that Leonato condones the marriage. Watching the happy couple kiss for the first time, Beatrice is overjoyed. She teases Don Pedro, inviting him to match her with a husband, and he asks if she would marry him. Beatrice declines. Although disappointed, Don Pedro develops a scheme to bring her and Benedick together. Leonato, Claudio, and Hero agree to help. The men fabricate a story about Beatrice’s “secret love” for Benedick, and discuss it within Benedick’s earshot. Likewise, Hero tells her female servant, Ursula, about Benedick’s love for Beatrice, while Beatrice eavesdrops. As planned, the sparring couple develop romantic feelings for each other. Continuing his efforts to thwart Claudio’s marriage, Don John draws Claudio and Don Pedro into the courtyard the night before the wedding. He points to an open window, where his henchman, Borachio, can be seen having sex with a brunette. Borachio cries out Hero’s name, and the men are led to believe the woman is Hero, while in reality, Borachio is having sex with Hero’s handmaid, Margaret. Later that night, Borachio brags about his exploits to Don John’s other henchman, Conrade. Don Pedro’s watchmen overhear, and arrest them. Dogberry, a dim-witted constable with a penchant for malapropisms, is informed. He tries and fails to convey the news to Leonato, just before Claudio and Hero’s wedding. Leonato instructs Dogberry to examine Borachio and Conrade himself, and rushes off to the chapel. There, after Leonato escorts his daughter down the aisle, Claudio throws her off the altar, strikes her, and accuses her of having lost her virginity to another man. Hero protests her innocence, but Claudio and Don Pedro remain convinced of her guilt. Leonato is disgusted by his daughter and wishes her dead. Certain that Hero is telling the truth, Benedick and Beatrice defend her honor. Friar Francis also suspects Hero is telling the truth. He suggests that Leonato deliver the false news that Hero has died, in hope that Claudio will regret his rash judgment. Benedick follows Beatrice into the chapel, where he confesses his love for her. She returns his affections, but makes him promise to kill Claudio. Benedick finds Claudio and Don Pedro, who have just received news that Hero is dead. He quits his service under Don Pedro, and challenges Claudio to a fight to the death. Meanwhile, Don John flees the villa. With the help of the prince’s watchmen, Dogberry elicits a confession from Borachio, who repeats the confession to Don Pedro and Claudio. Wracked with guilt, Claudio asks Leonato to punish him as he sees fit. Leonato instructs him to hang an epitaph on Hero’s tomb. At Leonato’s behest, Claudio also agrees to marry Hero’s cousin. The next morning, Benedick practices singing a sonnet he wrote for Beatrice. She interrupts him and asks if he challenged Claudio. Benedick assures her he did, just as Ursula rushes in with the news that Hero’s innocence was proven. Everyone returns to the chapel for Claudio’s marriage to Hero’s cousin. However, after Claudio swears to marry her before the friar, the girl removes her veil to reveal she is actually Hero. Claudio embraces his bride as she cries tears of joy. Afterward, Benedick calls Beatrice to the altar. When they realize they were tricked, however, the two renounce their affections. Claudio protests by stealing the sonnet from Benedick’s pocket and showing it to Beatrice. At the same time, Hero swipes a handwritten sonnet from Beatrice’s pocket and gives it to Benedick. After reading each other’s overtures, they decide to marry after all. Just as the double wedding celebration begins, Don John is escorted back to the villa by captors. Benedick urges Don Pedro not to worry about his brother’s punishment until tomorrow. He calls for music, and he and Beatrice lead the others in a dance. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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