William Shakespeare's play "Much Ado About Nothing" differs in many ways to MGM Studios adaptation to the text. With over 400 years separating the original play from the modern day film, there are many differences in characters, the setting, the costumes, and the dialogue. Many of the changes made in the adaptation were probably due to how much things have advanced in the last four centuries. Styles have changed. What can be expected and permitted in performances has changed. Film directors know that to captivate an audience now takes more than it would to attract an audience in the 1500's. Props have also advanced. I intend to briefly talk about the differences I observed in the text version of the play and the movie.
When watching the film "Much Ado About Nothing" the first difference I noticed was the setting. The movie is set in the hills of Tuscany with a light-hearted tone. From reading the play, I understood the tone to be more formal. The whole society seemed concerned with physical appearance and the opinions of others. All darkness portrayed in the play was absent and gave way to a free-spirited atmosphere. The film begins with many of the main characters having a picnic in a meadow. The sun is shining and everyone is laughing and enjoying themselves. All the female characters are wearing white dresses and the men are wearing earthy tones. There is music playing that emphasizes the happy and carefree setting. It is impossible to get this from the text version of the play.
The next difference I observed was as Don Pedro and his men came into sight. Denzel Washington, an African American, plays the role of Don Pedro, the prince of Aragon. There never would have been a black man playing a role in a play during the fourteenth and fifteenth century. On the same note, all roles in Shakespearean times were played by males. Females did not perform in plays until later.