A tragic and sentimental story that depicts the early career of the 19th century American actor, Edwin Booth with some mention of the events leading to the assassination of President ...
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Derek N. Twist
A tragic and sentimental story that depicts the early career of the 19th century American actor, Edwin Booth with some mention of the events leading to the assassination of President Lincoln by Edwin's brother, John Wilkes Booth. In the film, Edwin's days in the spotlight dwindle shortly after his brother is caught and killed for assassinating Lincoln. Written by
The film was meant to star Marlon Brando. He wanted a study of Edwin's tragic life (a career ruined by the assassination), not clips of classical plays. "When Fox couldn't get a top-rate actor like Olivier or me, they settled for... a third -rate performer with even worse skin." See more »
At Edwin's opening of Hamlet in London's Prince Charles Theatre there is a lady in a red hat. She must have liked his performance, because she's in the audience for every subsequent performance. See more »
Burton reciting Shakespeare, how can one go wrong?
Richard Burton plays Edwin Booth in "Prince of Players," also starring Raymond Massey, John Derek, Maggie McNamara, and Charles Bickford.
The story takes us through the young Edwin growing up, traveling with his famous actor father, and at times standing in for him. Eventually he himself becomes a great actor, and in fact, was known as the greatest Hamlet of his day. But personal tragedy strikes in his marriage and in his brother John's assassination of President Lincoln.
John Derek makes a dashing John Wilkes Booth, handsome and charismatic. Massey, a man who played Lincoln on film and recording as well, is the elder Booth and is excellent as the flamboyant drunkard. And it's wonderful to hear him recite Shakespeare.
"Prince of Players" was a showcase for Richard Burton. In 1955, when this film was released, he was young, handsome, and extremely romantic looking. Classically trained, he possessed, as he always did, a magnificent voice and a great talent. To hear his Shakespearean recitation in this film is a real treat, and there is a lot of it, including Hamlet, Richard III, and Romeo & Juliet. Sadly, Burton came from a poor Welsh family and never got over it. In pursuing movie money, he took roles in mediocre films and did very little stage work, though he shined in "Camelot" and "Equus." His last Broadway appearance, shortly before his death, was a disastrous "Private Lives" with his ex-wife Elizabeth Taylor. His fans, however, choose to remember this sweet and charming person as a glorious Prince Hal in Henry IV and as Hamlet. How wonderful that film audiences can hear his gifts forever in "Prince of Players."
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