During filming of Oberon and Titania against a raining backdrop, one of the young men operating the hoses (to simulate rain) was so distracted by the nearly nude beauty of Judi Dench that he lost track of his hose, which blasted Ms. Dench and Ian Richardson into the adjacent lake, from which they had to be rescued by the crew. See more »
Yes, it's clear that director Peter Hall was influenced by Richard Lester in his filming of Shakespeare's classic comedy/fantasy: the hand-held camera, jump cutting, etc. And while one could quibble with some of his derivative directorial choices, there's no arguing that this is the best-acted "Dream" on film available.
There's hardly a weak link in the cast, with the exception of David Warner and Michael Jayston as the male half of the quartet of lovers. Warner is a skilled classical actor, but he never had an ounce of charm. Jayston is competent, but dull and colorless.
But the rest of the cast is marvelous, with special kudos to Helen Mirren, Diana Rigg, Ian Richardson, and Judi Dench as a very sexy Titania. Ian Holm's snake-tongue bit as Puck gets old, but his somewhat malevolent rendition of Puck is well done.
I'm surprised that no one has made more out of Paul Rodgers superb Bottom, by far the best I've ever seen on stage or screen. Unlike so many actors who broadly overplay the role to wring laughs, Rodgers plays Bottom completely straight and with total conviction - never descending to self-conscious comedic playing. And he's all the more hilarious for it. This Pyramus and Thisbee playlet at the end is the funniest ever.
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