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Such stuff as dreams are made on... In the early days of cinema, pioneer filmmakers created these seven charming, moving and magical films based on the plays of William Shakespeare. Considered a "lowbrow" medium, the fledgling movie industry sought to elevate its status by immortalizing the classics and hiring the greatest actors of the day. As most of these early photoplays were only one or two reels long, adapting the Bard proved to be both challenging and inspiring. Digitally restored by the British Film Institute, this DVD features: King John (Britain, 1899), The Tempest (Britain, 1908), A Midsummer Night's Dream (USA, 1909), King Lear (Italy, 1910), Twelfth Night (USA, 1910), The Merchant of Venice (Italy, 1910), Richard III (Britain, 1911).
Full Frame - Tinted & B&W - English - Mono
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Sometimes the music that was supposedly added on later stops in places and
the DVD case is made of paper and without any liner notes, which I was hoping for.
But overall, a satisfactory quality DVD.
While not the type of thing that a silent novice would most benefit by seeing, it does hold immense historical value to those who are interested in film history and who have seen enough silents to know that these are not representative of the lost artform. Watching films this old is kind of like looking back in time, and these early film adaptations of Shakespeare are no exception. And in spite of missing all of the wonderful poetry of Shakespeare, the actors still manage to convey the stories through subtle nonverbal communication.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University of Paris Dauphine & University of Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne
When it gets to "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1909), it slows down and you can almost hear the dialog that you know by heart. However, for us mortals there are plates with words that we can read. The scene where Puck searches for the plant is neatly done. Every generation of actors must play in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and this is no different.
Walter Ackerman ... Demetrius
Charles Chapman ... Quince
Maurice Costello ... Lysander
Julia Swayne Gordon ... Helena
Gladys Hulette ... Puck (interesting that they picked a female)
Elita Proctor Otis ... Hippolyta
William V. Ranous ... Bottom
William Shea ... Mechanical
Rose Tapley ... Hermia
Florence Turner ... Titania - Viola in Twelfth Night
Clara Kimball Young ... Penelope
*** The violin and piano commitment helps make the film.
King Lear 1910 or (Re Lear) someone colored it be for Ted Turner was born.
King Lear decides to divide his kingdom amongst his three daughters.
Love the old left over Viking helmets.
Ermete Novelli ... King Lear
Francesca Bertini ... Cordelia
Olga Giannini Novelli ... King Lear's Daughter
Giannina Chiantoni ... King Lear's Daughter
Twelfth Night 1910
Viola and her twin brother Sebastian are shipwrecked and separated
Julia Swayne Gordon ... Olivia
Charles Kent ... Malvolio
Florence Turner ... Viola - Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream
Edith Storey ... Sebastian
Tefft Johnson ... Orsino
Marin Sais ... Maria
William Humphrey ... Sir Toby Belch
James Young ... Sir Andrew Aguecheek
The Merchant of Venice (IL mercante di Venezia) 1910
A merchant (Bassanio) takes out a loan of three thousand ducats.
Again, this film is hand colored.
Ermete Novelli ... Shylock (now I wonder were the term Shylock came from)
Francesca Bertini ... Jessica
Olga Giannini Novelli ... Portia - King Lear's Daughter in King Lear 1910
The penalty for the shedding of one drop of Christian blood is confiscation of lands and goods.
Richard III 1911
Richard of Gloucester is determined to gain the throne.
James Berry ... King Henry VI
Alfred Brydone ... King Edward IV
Kathleen Yorke ... Edward, Prince of Wales / King Edward V
Hetty Kenyon...Richard, Duke of York
Murray Carrington ... George, Duke of Clarence
Frank R. Benson ... Richard, Duke of Gloucester / Richard III
Eric Maxon ... Henry, Earl of Richmond / King Henry VII
Moffat Johnston ... Duke of Buckingham
James Maclean ... Duke of Norfolk
Victor McClure ... Earl of Surrey, his son
R.I. Connick ... Earl Rivers
George Manship ... Earl of Oxford
Harry Caine ... Lord Hastings
Wilfrid Caithness ... Lord Stanley
L. Rupert ... Sir Richard Ratcliff
H. James ... Sir James Tyrrel
Alfred Wild ... Sir William Catesby
Cecil Dighton ... Sir James Blount
John Howell ... Sir Robert Brackenbury
J. Victor ... Lord Mayor of London
H.O. Nicholson ... First murderer
A. Wild ... Second murderer
Violet Farebrother ... Elizabeth, Queen of King Edward IV
Elinor Aickin ... Duchess of York, mother to King Edward IV, Clarence and Gloucester
Mrs (Constance) Benson ... Lady Anne, widow of Edward Prince of Wales
All I can say are you getting a lot for your money. Just remember watching these films are no substitute for the real thing.
Midsummer Night's Dream (1968) [VHS]