Wednesday, February 3, 2016

'A Midsummer Night's Dream is a 1935 American romance fantasy film of William Shakespeare's play, directed by Max Reinhardt and William Dieterle, and starring Ian Hunter, James Cagney, Mickey Rooney, Olivia de Havilland, Joe E. Brown, Dick Powell, and Victor Jory. Produced by Henry Blanke and Hal Wallis for Warner Brothers...the film is about the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors, who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the story is set. The play, which is categorized as a comedy, is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world. Felix Mendelssohn's music was extensively used, as re-orchestrated by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. The ballet sequences featuring the fairies were choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska.'

(quote above is from m.wikipedia)

Some 80 years have passed since this movie was made. The bit of the film I've seen, only a few minutes long, shows the wonders of a summer night in ancient times, as the producers imagined it.

Movie making was still new 80 years ago; this is a silent movie in black and white. The scenes I saw were wondrous and magical. They take place in the night - lovely, surreal effects. Light twinkles from the moonlit trees; dozens of tiny fairies emerge and frolic along a forested path.

Before computers, and before 'talkies', these movie makers created a work of art using film. What is ironic and impressive is that Shakespeare's centuries old blithe and poetic dialogue is successfully translated into a movie with no spoken words and only a few captions. 

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