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Theseus, the Duke of Athens, is engaged to be married to Hippolyta. One of the Duke's courtiers has a daughter, Hermia, who, for business reasons, he decides shall marry Demetrius: but she is in love with Lysander. Her father appeals to the Duke and he decrees that Hermia must obey her father or forever remain unmarried. The lovers decide to elope and they are followed by the rejected suitor, Demetrius, and Helena, who loves him in vain. On the night of the elopement a number of townspeople are rehearsing in the woods a play which they intend to present at the wedding of Duke Theseus. The eloping lovers, followed by Demetrius and Helena, wander to the same part of the forest that the players frequent. Meanwhile among the fairies of the forest a little love episode has ended in a tiff and Oberon, the king of the fairies, sends his messenger, Puck, for an herb, which, when placed upon the eyes of a sleeper, will cause him or her to love the first creature seen upon awakening. The ... Written by
Moving Picture World synopsis
The copy held by the BFI National Archive is incomplete, and ends with the mechanicals beginning their play before Theseus. See more »
[first title card]
The Duke of Athens, soon to be married to Hippolyta, decrees that his subject, Hermia, shall give up her lover, Lysander, and marry Demetrius whom her father has chosen. The lovers decide to elope. They are followed by Demetrius and Helena in love with Demetrius.
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I'm becoming convinced that it is extremely difficult to bring Shakespeare to film without doing some major translations, at least using modern notions. There's just too much invested in the spoken language itself from whence all the stuff flows that is normally associated with the cinematic.
I've been looking at several silent treatments. Naturally enough, they fall flat. But this one doesn't because it emphasizes the play of the "mechanicals." The abstraction of that play on film, the jumping and gesticulating is along the same lines as ALL the acting of that day, but double.
If you were going to try a film, the best plot device is the play within the play (of any of his plays that have this). And the best abstraction strategy is to just take his existing exaggeration and exaggerate it.
It is all a matter of what you are tricked into falling in love with.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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