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Olivia de Havilland,
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The first puppet kinescope in the world. It is based on the famous poetic comedy by William Shakespeare. Three worlds meet in this story: the noble world of three Athens couples, a common ... See full summary »
Theseus, Duke of Athens, is going to marry Hyppolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Demetrius is engaged with Hermia, but Hermia loves Lysander. Helena loves Demetrius. Oberon and Titania, of the kingdom of fairies have a slight quarrel about whether or not the boy Titania is raising will join Titania's band or Oberon's, so Oberon tries to get him from her by using some magic. But they're not alone in that forest.Lysander and Hermina have there a rendezvous, Helena and Demetrius are there, too as well as some actors, who are practicing a play for the ongoing wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. Due to some misunderstandings by Puck, the whole thing becomes a little bit confused... Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
Composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold was personally chosen by director Max Reinhardt. Both agreed in an early production stage to use the original incidental music written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy as the film's soundtrack. (Reinhardt did a stage production of the play before and used Mendelssohn's music.) As the film runs over two hours it was obvious that Mendelssohn's composition would be too short. Instead of just repeating several musical cues to fit the film's final length Korngold adapted the incidental music and parts of some other compositions by Mendelssohn, re-orchestrated them for a larger orchestra and choir (most notably heard in his Wedding March version at the end) and composed some short musical bridges by himself. Thus he created a complete symphonic score for the movie based on Mendelssohn's music. However, he chose to remain uncredited as a composer and insisted on giving full musical credit to Mendelssohn. See more »
Early Hollywood wasn't known for its high-brow culture, and this film was an important step in enriching the cinema. The opening titles reveal how proud Warner Brothers were to have done it, and what a production it was indeed: all the top Warner's stars, the best technical support in the world, a top composer of the day in Erich Korngold, ballet choreography by Nijinska, and the highly respected Max Reinhardt as director. You couldn't have asked for more in those energetic movie days.
And, happily, it works! It's still beautiful, exciting, technically enthralling--and very funny! There are too many great performances to single out even one; but as an ensemble, the "players" are marvelous. No one seems stilted; everyone is right at home; even though most of these individuals hadn't been trained to the classical stage--they were just good! and, incidentally, it just goes to show the timelessness of the play itself.
Some scenes today seem overlong, and I think someone should have toned down little Mickey Rooney a good bit, but all in all it's a triumph. Midsummer or not, it's a sweet interlude.
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