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Silent Shakespeare [1899] [DVD]

Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree , Dora Senior , Charles Kent , Percy Stow    Exempt   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £4.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Dora Senior, F.M. Paget, James Fisher, Charles Kent
  • Directors: Charles Kent, Percy Stow, J. Stuart Blackton, Gerolamo Lo Savio
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Oct 2004
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000621PAQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,851 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

SILENT SHAKESPEARE

This unique collection of early adaptations of Shakespeare works is accompanied by a new score specially commissioned from award-winning young composer, Laura Rossi.

In the early years of the 20th century the film industry sought to elevate its lowbrow status by imitating theatre. While cinemas decked themselves out like theatres, filmmakers signed up stage stars and turned to the classics. Shakespeare provided the greatest challenge, especially since many of the films made before the First World War were only one or two reels long.

The films you will see on this DVD are from the National Film and Television Archive Collection; they are; The Tempest (1908), King Lear (1910) A Midsummer Night's Dream (1909), Twelfth Night (1910), The Merchant of Venice (1910), Richard III (1911), and the first Shakespeare film ever made - King John (1899). Although the films are sometimes damaged they give us a unique record of a performance, together they show us the exuberance, invention ad conviction of these early filmmakers and demonstrate the possibilities of the Shakespearean text.

DVD Extras

  • Filmed introduction by Judith Buchanan
  • Commentary by Judith Buchanan

UK, Italy, USA | 1899 - 1911 | black & white and tinted | 88 minutes | silent with music Ratio 1.33:1 | Region 2 DVD

Review

'The BFI should be congratulated on this DVD. It provides a rare opportunity to see these beautiful early films which are now much too fragile to project.' --Martin Scorsese

'...an attractive collection with a vigorous Richard 111 from Sir Frank Benson and a charming five-minute version of The Tempest' --Sir Richard Eyre


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly refreshing in spite of the age 14 Feb 2007
Format:DVD
Of course these silent short movies are not what anyone could expect about Shakespeare who is the king of speech and the god of soliloquies. But these films are real gems in our library because they represent what could be done with a camera, black and white and all, one century ago, between 1899 and 1911. It is brilliant and it also shows how the body was used to express what could not be heard. One of the best I think is Twelfth Night. Body language is just as strong as words if we really want to use that body to say something. What's more the technique or techniques used in some of these films show how they wanted to go beyond these black and white moving pictures, how they longed for colour, even to the point of adding some with some crayolas or so. What was so strong in these pictures to ignite the imagination of so many people, technicians, directors, actors or audience, to the point of moving en masse to this new art, to this silver screen that went beyond anything anyone had ever dreamt. We may have lost some of that art with one century of progress and technicalization of every single aspect of the film industry, to the point of wondering at times if we have not lost the art and the creativity along with the poverty and the novelty of this medium.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University of Paris Dauphine & University of Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A silence filled with mute words 29 Dec 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This collection of silent films adapted from Shakespeare's plays is really funny and interesting. It is even amusing to see how the genius of words and shouts and all other vocal expressions is translated in pure silence thanks to gestures, postures, costumes, settings, and a few pages summarizing the successive scenes. We probably miss the words, but we do have the feelings and the atmospheres of the plays. It is important to watch these short films to really know how fascinating and universally known Shakespeare is. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, Paris Universities II and IX.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting to behold, 1 April 2010
By bernie VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
This is a collection of early Shakespeare films, and at first, it looks like the films may be of interest to the art of filmmaking but not so much Shakespeare.

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 ...
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 11* 22 April 2013
By Lyns
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
wonderful... some comments make the point that this may be better suited for 'film buffs' rather than 'shakespeare stalkers' ;) but im the latter and this was BRILLIANT to watch.. thril to see some of the first films made and enchanting to have such a archive at ones fingertips... loved it crackles/warts n all !!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A silence that speaks 29 Dec 2000
By Jacques COULARDEAU - Published on Amazon.com
This collection of silent films adapted from Shakespeare's plays is really funny and interesting. It is even amusing to see how the genius of words and shouts and all other vocal expressions is translated in pure silence thanks to gestures, postures, costumes, settings, and a few pages summarizing the successive scenes. We probably miss the words, but we do have the feelings and the atmospheres of the plays. It is important to watch these short films to really know how fascinating and universally known Shakespeare is. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, Paris Universities II and IX.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting to behold 22 Feb 2010
By bernie - Published on Amazon.com
This is a collection of early Shakespeare films, and at first, it looks like the films may be of interest to the art of filmmaking but not so much Shakespeare.

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

Just remember:
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]
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