The above clip is from the 1965 TV special "The Music of Lennon&McCartney" -- and yes, your eyes did not deceive you: it is indeed a dramatic reading of "Hard Days Night" by the now-legendary comedian Peter Sellers in full parody of Sir Laurence Olivier's turn as Richard III. I laugh when he says "alright" every single time, in spite of myself.
Youtube naturally has a variety of Richard III (and Peter Sellers) -themed clips:
- Olivier's version of the opening "Winter of our discontent" speech (what good is the parody without the original?)
- A collection of three other versions of Richard's opening speech, by Ron Cook, Jonathan Slinger, and Ian McKellen
- The speech read by SpokenVerse, a fairly well known and professional-quality poetry reader who has over eight hundred recordings up on Youtube.
- Peter Sellers playing Richard (and Queen Victoria) on the Muppet Show alongside Kermit the Frog.
- Peter Sellers' cover of "Can't Buy Me Love" -- oh ho ho ho! If you watch only one of these clips please, please make it this one.
In a sense, all the characters share in the role of villain -- and no doubt tear down the reputation of those who ruled England just before the Tudors, that glorious dynasty that still ruled in Shakespeare's day, some one hundred years after the events of this play, in the form of Queen Elizabeth.
I liked the "ghost pageant" at the end, wherein the lost souls of all the slain men -- with the soul of two boys and a woman in their mix -- glide across the stage, then a still-sleeping battlefield, cursing Richard. tossing and turning in his tent, and blessing his competitor, Richmond (Henry VII), blissfully asleep in his. Though the ghosts have only as yet drifted across my imagination, still I can imagine this scene as one of the best, most dramatic climaxes in all of Shakespeare.
Peter Sellers thinks so too.