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Danish silent movie-star Asta Nielsen formed her own production company to make this film, in which new elements are combined with features (and a few lines) familiar from Shakespeare's version of the legend. The most important of these changes sees Hamlet made into a female character - a princess forced to masquerade as a man by her scheming mother; from this follows Hamlet's secret passion for Horatio and rivalry with Ophelia for his love. Queen Gertrude is here presented as conspiring in her first husband's murder, and the old king's ghost does not appear - young Hamlet merely hears a voice from the tomb and (apparently) dreams of him. In addition, Hamlet now kills Claudius (in a fire) immediately upon returning from Norway with an army led by old school- friend Fortinbras, and it falls to Gertrude to engineer Hamlet's death in the fencing match as well as kill herself by accidentally drinking the poisoned wine. Written by
Mark Doran <email@example.com>
Even the most dangerous longhaired youngsters know the story of the heir to the throne of Denmark ( that European country in which kings measure their kingdoms by the number of horses ) who lived some centuries ago and was called Herr Hamlet. His was a tale full of crime, vengeance, pain and suffering ( standard for aristocratic families ) The story of this tormented soul was written by Herr William Shakespeare and this very free film adaptation, is entitled "Hamlet", natürlich!. The film was directed by Herr Sven Gade und Herr Heinz Schall and starred the great, obviously Danish actress, Dame Asta Nielsen.
Ja, mein liebers, you've read it correctly and you're not just suffering a hangover from last night; this German film version of "Hamlet" stars Dame Nielsen, a fräulein , so that in order to amaze the audience, this time Herr Hamlet became Dame Hamlet.
The film was inspired by the British scientist Herr Edward P. Vining's theory that the Danish prince was an adrogyne princess so this explains the reason for his/her's torment; as if it wasn't enough for him/her t to know that your uncle killed your father, married your mother and seized the Danish throne that belonged to you The film is an outstanding production ( it was one of the most successful German films of that era ) ,shot with superb scenery in Goslar, a medieval German Gothic village that had, besides lots of Germans, a spectacular imperial ball room that was used in the film. The movie was produced by "Art-Film" a film company created for the occasion by Dame Nielsen.
The Danish actress shines especially in his film; her Hamlet is superb, with memorable moments in which her presence dominates powerfully the screen, as when "Hamlet" returns to the court to see that her mother is celebrating her wedding at the same as her father's funeral . Particularly strong is Hamlet's death scene ( in spite the novelties included in the story, mein liebers, "Herr "Hamlet dies at the end of the film ) which is beautifully filmed. Dame Nielsen shows admirably the terrible sufferings of her character ( unrequited and forbidden loves, not to mention her family problems that lead her to pretend insanity in order to unmask her uncle ) in a restrained way, a very modern performance that outshines the "classical" performances of the other actors.
The film was recently restored by the "Deutsches Filminstitut-DIF" ( a complete and tinted nitrate that was shown in the early silent times in German theatres ) and broadcast by the German-French TV. channel "ARTE", a delightful present for all the silent film fans around the world; one that shows them why Dame Nielsen was one of the most important actress of the silent era and the significance of the German film industry in those times.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must decide whether to be or not to be.
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