4.9/10
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Beerbohm Tree, the Great English Actor (1899)

King John (original title)
This short film recreates King John's death scene at the end of the play.

Writers:

(play), (adaptation)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Herbert Beerbohm Tree ...
Dora Tulloch ...
Prince Henry (as Dora Senior)
Charles Sefton ...
J. Fisher White ...
Earl of Pembroke (as James Fisher)
S.A. Cookson ...
Franklyn McLeay ...
Lewis Waller ...
Julia Neilson ...
William Mollison ...
Gerald Lawrence ...
Louis Calvert ...
Norman McKinnel ...
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Storyline

Based on Shakespeare's play, Act V, Scene vii: King John is in torment, and his supporters fear that his end is near. As he writhes in agony, he is attended by Prince Henry, the Earl of Pembroke, and Robert Bigot. Prince Henry tries repeatedly to comfort his delirious father, but to no avail - John's pain is too great. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Drama

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Release Date:

20 September 1899 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Beerbohm Tree, the Great English Actor  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

None of the actors who appeared in any of the four scenes in "King John" are known to have been filmed as actors before. See more »

Connections

Version of King John (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An Interesting Piece of Cinema History
28 February 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

While not especially detailed or action-packed, this short movie is quite an interesting piece of cinema history. It affords a look at the renowned stage actor Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, in what must have been his first screen role, and it is also one of the very earliest screen adaptations of classic literature. In itself, it is not bad at all for material that is not particularly well-suited for a silent movie.

The footage comes from the last scene of Shakespeare's "King John", and depicts the king (Sir Herbert) in agony, both mental and physical. It's the kind of scene that offers a stage actor some fine opportunities for dramatics and the like, but it's something of a curious choice for early movie footage, compared with some of Shakespeare's other, more action packed works. Yet at that, it does not work badly.

While Sir Herbert's style is clearly based on the stage, he nevertheless convincingly portrays King John's torment, and if you read some of John's lines while watching the footage, it fits together. Prince Henry's vain efforts to comfort his father also come across believably. The setting and background likewise are stage-like, and yet they work in adding a little detail and atmosphere.

All in all, this is worth seeing for a number of reasons.


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