A duke usurps his brother's land and power, banishing him and his retinue into the forest of Arden. The banished duke's daughter, Rosalind, remains with her cousin Celia. She has fallen in ...
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After the overthrowing of Duke Senior by his tyrannical brother, Senior's daughter Rosalind disguises herself as a man and sets out to find her banished father while also counseling her clumsy suitor Orlando in the art of wooing.
A duke usurps his brother's land and power, banishing him and his retinue into the forest of Arden. The banished duke's daughter, Rosalind, remains with her cousin Celia. She has fallen in love with Orlando, but he has his own tyrannical brother to contend with, so he joins those in the forest. Rosalind, now banished, disguises herself as a young man, with Celia as her servant, and follows Orlando into the forest. There, nature stirs love's fires in various rustics as well as in those from the court. Phebe, a shepherdess loved by Silvius, is herself smitten with the disguised Rosalind. Can true love find a way, and can brothers be reconciled and harmony restored? Written by
Poor Elizabeth Bergner, she's the daughter of a deposed Duke who's now living in the Ardennes forest. She's living in the palace where her father's brother, the new Duke has kept her on as a companion for his daughter.
But one fine day she catches sight of young Laurence Olivier and when he wins a wrestling match with an airplane spin the folks in the WWE would envy, her eyes are for him only. Trouble is, he's the son of a knight the current Duke also didn't like. And Olivier has had a spat with his older brother. Off he goes to the woods. And Bergner follows him.
Pretty soon everybody's hanging out in the Ardennes and it's kind of like Shakespeare's other forest story, A Midsummer Night's Dream with people darting hither, thither and yon, the pursued becoming the pursuers and vice versa.
Elizabeth Bergner who plays Rosalind charmingly albeit her Teutonic accent, requested Olivier to be opposite her as Orlando. What Bergner wanted, Bergner got as her husband Paul Czinner produced the film. According to the book The Films of Laurence Olivier, Bergner and Olivier had some creative differences and relations were a bit chilly on the set.
This was the first time Olivier did Shakespeare for the screen or television and the only time he did not have creative control over what went out. He thought that the part of Orlando was as a dull romantic horse's patoot and not much could be done with it. When it came time to do Shakespeare again for the screen, Olivier would see it done right.
Still and all As You Like It is a charming antique and any time you can see Olivier do Shakespeare is time well spent.
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