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As You Like it (1937)

Henry Ainley , Elisabeth Bergner , Paul Czinner  |  NR |  DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Henry Ainley, Elisabeth Bergner, Felix Aylmer, Laurence Olivier, Stuart Robertson
  • Directors: Paul Czinner
  • Writers: Carl Mayer, J.M. Barrie, Robert Cullen, William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Paul Czinner, Joseph M. Schenck
  • Format: Black & White, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 20, 1999
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305470332
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,078 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "As You Like it" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Liner Notes Essay by Roy Hemming

Editorial Reviews

The Bard's brilliant comedy with Sir Laurence Olivier in his first Shakespearian role. Elisabeth Bergner stars as Rosalind, the daughter of an exiled Duke, who falls in love with Orlando (Olivier), the son of one of her father's courtiers. When Orlando continues to ignore her, Rosalind decides the best way to be at his side is by disguising herself as a boy. Her deception works too well as Orlando would rather be in the boy's company than hers. How Rosalind works out her predicament is part of the fun in this early sound film adaptation of Shakespeare's classic play.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At Long Last Like May 28, 2000
This is my favorite Shakespeare play, and I've often wondered why no one has ever made another movie version in all this time. This adaption is dated but generally well done, with an actively moving camera and some scattered attempts at making it more than merely a "filmed play." If you've seen it on TV then you probably remember the sound as awful and the picture pretty blurry (like many public domain movies, awful prints are everywhere). So know that this dvd is from an excellent print, with the sound much clearer, (though still not great) and the picture 10 times better than I have seen. So if you are wondering if this dvd is worth getting even if only to replace your inaudible old VHS copy, then let me assure you Arden has never looked better, nor Elisabeth Bergner's shrill voice more effortlessly deciphered. I would not change it.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD is a big improvement July 7, 2001
By Carvet
I have always enjoyed this movie even though the VHS version has very poor sound and picture quality. The DVD is much improved in both areas and is worth the additional investment (don't expect digital quality though). I love Olivier (young and handsome here) and considered him the star of this film, but the DVD keep box has about three "pages" of film history that set me straight. It explains that at the time this film was produced Elizabeth Bergener was the big star and Laurence Olivier a struggling young hopeful. Bergener insisted on him as Orlando. Her husband was the director of this and many other of her films. Also, I found her voice shrill, but hear it a bit differently now that I know that English is not her first language (she came to England as a fleeing Germany where she was already an international star). Fascinating stuff, a great film and good DVD quality.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One star is too many January 8, 2009
By Laddie
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A terrible transfer, so bad it must be seen to believed - the film looks and sounds like it was made underwater. This is not a critique of an enjoyable, if flawed film, but of this particular DVD.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Try the 1978 version with Helen Mirren August 15, 2001
By A Customer
This is not a bad play, but it feels tight. I wanted to see it to compare with the 1978 version with Helen Mirren (just about impossible to find - try Ambrose Video and sit down for the price). The setting is forcefully lush, but feels plastic. My general view is that Shakespeare needs to be "slowed down", performance-wise and most old movies (40-50 years) seem rushed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shakespearean Actors should SPEAK ENGLISH! November 26, 2010
By wvc
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Let me add a hearty endorsement of the reviewer who complained about Elisabeth Bergner. Aside from the fact that her Rosalind seems a little slow in the head and one is mystified at how Orlando could possibly be swept off his feet by her, her horrible pronunciation and accent absolutely mutilates the poetry. Nobody watches Shakespeare for the story alone. Heck, hardly any of his stories are even original. The most important thing about Shakespeare is, obviously, THE LANGUAGE. Listening to Bergner speak Shakespeare is like listening to a Mozart piano concerto through a kazoo. It is painful and at times incomprehensible. The transformation into Ganymede is absurd, as well. I mean, at least lose the lipstick.

While Olivier is fun as Orlando, the rest of the cast is lackluster. Many seem to just be reciting lines. The edits are poorly chosen, with some of them completely marring essential themes of the play (for example the interaction surrounding the famous Jaques speech is critical in setting up the play's opposition to Jaques's cynical world view, but it's all missing here and you come away thinking that the exiled Duke actually agrees with Jaques as if he's some sort of wise sage). The directing is awful, as well. Whose idea was it to film Rosalind & Celia racing through the woods when they first learn of Orlando being nearby? Why can't Rosalind STOP HUGGING CELIA for more than 2 seconds at a time? The costuming, while meant to be authentic, is actually very distracting. It almost becomes a game of "what kind of crazy hat will we see next"?

All in all the historical interest in seeing a very young Olivier is not enough to make this worth buying. Maybe borrow it from the library or put it low on your NetFlix queue.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bronte Mydellton November 9, 2011
This is an old 1937 black and white production and Laurence Olivier's first foray into Shakespeare on film. It was also only the second time that Shakespeare had been filmed by Hollywood, the first being A Midsummer Night's Dream, just two years earlier. Whilst Paul Czinner's production had nothing else to guide it or to measure up to, it still became a successful film for that generation. Moreover, some modern Shakespearian enthusiasts like this early work.
As the production is 75 years old one must make allowances for dated film and sound quality. Perhaps I am less fussy than most, but I was not put off by these limitations.
Olivier plays a starry eyed Orlando with great aplomb. However, his friend and sometimes arch rival, John Gielgud felt that `he overdid it a little'. Over the decades that style of acting has dated and passed on, proving Gielgud correct. Despite this, Olivier was considered very successful at the time, and is still a great performance to watch. Only nine years later Olivier made a magnificent transformation with Henry V followed by Hamlet in 1948 and became the greatest ever Shakespearian film actor.
Elisabeth Bergner gave a goodish performance, although some scholars dislike her end-piece when she talked about the duties of `vomen'. Most other actors did acceptably well in tights, strutting around England's medieval Forest of Arden surrounded by lions and sheep. Even so, the play is a rustic romp comedy where we must `suspend our disbelief' to get the best from the film.
I believe that this production of `As You Like It' has survived, despite ageing, and I prefer it to most other versions made since. However for modern day entertainment, Kenneth Branagh's sumptuous full colour feature film has now surpassed this original production.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars quality of the taping was poor
Had seen As you Like it on TV a year or so ago, and really liked it. It was the same movie with the same characters; however, the DVD movie that received the quality was so poor,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by carepuppy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD of Shakespeares "As You Like It"
Yes it's not the complete play, it's a bit abridged, but to those who know "As You Like it" this has to be the performance to beat. Read more
Published 5 months ago by william c
3.0 out of 5 stars Put faces to the pages.
The only reason I bought this movie was to make it easier for me to read the written word and be able to accurately picture the characters and scenes in my minds eye.
Published 7 months ago by Thomas M. Bell
4.0 out of 5 stars Film history
I love Shakespeare and will watch, listen or attend anything offered. This is British film history and interesting from that perspective. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Monhegan Monarch
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD IMAGE RELEASE!!!!!
The Image release is the only one worth getting. They have the best picture quality and sound with no problems. Very good original print.
Published on May 8, 2011 by larryj1
3.0 out of 5 stars "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."
DVD-R mfr. SYNERGY offers no commentary, deleted scenes, subtitles or other bonus features. Dubs are "best available source" and can vary from very good to only fair. Read more
Published on October 17, 2010 by Annie Van Auken
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the version of AS YOU LIKE IT to own
I had recently purchased the Alpha Video version of this 1937 classic and
when I viewed it I just died. Beat up, cut up, scratched up copy of this timeless classic. Read more
Published on June 28, 2008 by DB Edwards
2.0 out of 5 stars Sir Laurence Olivier's first film
Elisabeth Bergner as Rosalind gets top billing in this 1936 B&W film. I love William Shakespeare. His mastery of language and plot is always (so far) a joy. Read more
Published on April 11, 2006 by Curtis W. Loveall
3.0 out of 5 stars A Knowing Orlando Courts a Deranged Rosalind
A charming, if prudish, version of "As You Like It". In this adaptation, Celia is taller than Rosalind (abiding by Le Beau's lines in I, ii of the First Folio and disregarding... Read more
Published on January 30, 2005 by R. L. Kaplan
4.0 out of 5 stars Old-fashioned, but fun
This version of "As You Like It" has not aged well. The modern approach to Shakespeare, with more natural dialog and realistic costuming, has left the tight-wearing... Read more
Published on June 4, 2002 by Zack Davisson
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