Midsummer Night's Dream, A (1935)
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Love is blind, fickle and true. And under the sway of capricious fairies it becomes blinder ( a queen romances as donkey), more fickle (best friends swoon over each other's beau) and truest of all (lovers repledge their devotion). "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" in Shakespeare's bewitching comedy!]]>
- Commentary by film historian Scott MacQueen
- Olivia de Havilland screen test
- Vintage featurette: A Dream Comes True
- Presenting...: gallery of six teaser trailers showcasing cast members
- Warner Bros. Studio Cafe teaser trailer
- Musical short: Shake Mr. Shakespeare
- Theatrical trailer
Top Customer Reviews
But Reinhardt gives us a German High Romantic version of AMND, and displays a very different virtue, seldom seen in modern screen transcriptions of older works: a sense of well-conceived and executed style. You may not like his Mendelssohnian fairies, but their integration into the play--by choice of dialog, imaginative staging and costuming, brilliant special effects and incidental music--is consistent. Mendelssohn's music was in fact intended to accompany actual performances many years previously; and the ballet sequences built around it have a way of stopping time even today with their visionary beauty, a matter of movement, staging, lighting (the remarkable Hal Mohr), editing and effects. A book in fact could be written on Reinhardt's multi-level application of thematic materials, which is done in a manner that's far less boring than the way it sounds. This is a brilliant conception of Shakespeare, far from the "let's be different to grab attention" Shakespeare of punk Romeos that have fled across our screens in recent years.
The casting is generally very good. Mickey Rooney, in his first feature film role, displays all the remarkable energy and focus which were his greatest gifts.Read more ›
This film, one of the most remarkable projects of 1930s Hollywood, was released in October 1935 in a 143 minute roadshow presentation. This was trimmed back to 132 minutes for general release (with the overture & exit music removed) and trimmed again to 117 minutes for its October 1936 re-release.
Apparently, only the original nitrate camera negative of the 117 minute version survives, which means that Warners discarded the trims. However, there is also a nitrate positive of the long version, and a nitrate dupe negative of same. I believe that they also have a nitrate fine grain of the short version, which was used as the basis for the very first Laser Disc and subsequent VIDEO release in the late 80s.
So, the team assembling this DVD had a number of excellent source materials from which to work and to produce a definitive version at last. Regrettably, they didn't and unless I am mistaken, no frame-by-frame digital restoration has even been attempted. Given all these choices, I would have thought they could have made a better job. Clearly WB just wouldn't spend the money.
Indeed, the team that was responsible for assembling the materials made some pretty poor decisions. This film is one of the most beautiful, visually, of the entire era and deserves better. Hal Mohr's spectacular photography (he deserved his Oscar) and wonderful lighting produces some breathtaking effects.Read more ›
Max Reinhardt was a superstar theatre producter of the Berlin twenties.
(Being Jewish, he had to flee the Nazis, once they assumed power). He has created a German High Romantic version of the play. For example, the film has a spiritual glow, a soft-focus radiance when the fairies are in display. Even the palace in Athens has dreamlike, amorphous spires. At moments, I thought I was experiencing a religious vision of the Virgin and Child when Titiana and Bottom were in the forest. Other times, the spiral of fairies ascending in the air reminded me of a William Blake painting of Jacob's Stairway to Heaven.
Regarding the actors, the undisputed star of the film is Mickey Rooney. In this movie, he communicates a manic energy, a malevolent laugh, a force of nature in his peformance. I thought the other actors were substantially weaker...so if you are primarily interested in the language, go for the Peter Hall version of Midsummer Night's Dream.
Nevertheless, the film is so overwhelmingly stunning that it must belong in anyone's list of the top 1000 films anywhere. It's so ironic that with the development of movie special effects in the last 70 years, today's filmmakers cannot replicate the truly magical effects that Max Reinhardt delivers. Go for the experience, forget the weaknesses, and appreciate this photographic masterpiece for what it is.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was there in the Paramount Theater in Beaumont, Texas, 1935, watching my first performance of Shakespeare, and was set om fire by the language I heard and the music, costumes and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Joe D. Gilliland
This would be the definitive cinematic adaption of Midsummers Nights Dream EXCEPT for Micky Rooney as Puck! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Birchman
Someone gave me and my two sisters this movie as a VHS when we were little and we fell in love!!!! We wanted to dress like all the characters and still quote lines from the play to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by CreateBecome
Some parts of the movie on the DVD could have come out more clearly.Published 3 months ago by Joseph A. Martino
Interesting to see all the old stars. A little tedious, though. Still haven't watched the whole production.Published 6 months ago by L. Muller
My whole family loves this film. It is sweet and whimsical (of course), and we delight in the very young Mickey Rooney as Puck.Published 6 months ago by Michele LuValle
Always Always Always love Shakespeare. Can't comment on the quality of the product manufacturing because I have not had time to watch it but I love this movie version of AMND.Published 7 months ago by Phobius
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