|Index||8 reviews in total|
This little silent film does a nice job of getting across the flavor of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night". Naturally, Shakespeare loses a lot without the dialogue, but the characters and situations are entertaining in themselves, and this does a good job of covering the most important parts of the amusing plot with its mix-ups. Most of the characters are rendered with good acting, especially the engaging Viola (Florence Turner) and the haughty Malvolio (who was played by director Kent). It's a pleasant short feature, and crafted carefully enough that even without all of the dialogue from the original play you can enjoy it.
Lets face it, any film adaptation of Shakespeare will be inadequate in
fundamental ways. In this case, you have the translation of language to
pure visuals and the necessities of extreme compression.
But his comedies are not like his other stuff; the gags are rooted in visual jokes particularly the "woman dressed as a man" routine. (In his day, women were played by boys which adds to the joke.)
This is slight, but for my tastes it captured the spirit of the thing and a couple of the joke scenes. All the sex stuff is missing, which is the big loss, but the players are enderaing even in their exaggerated gesticulating.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
This concise telling of the Shakespeare play runs for around 12 minutes and is well worth seeing - covering most of the action, the shipwreck, Malvolio and the letter, the duel between Andrew and 'Cesario', the meeting of Olivia and 'Cesario' and the final resolve of all muddles. Just a lovely little film!
The best and possibly worst thing about this early adaptation of Shakespeare's play has to be the co-director Charles Kent, who also selected the plum role of Malvolio for himself. Note how, with admirable lack of tact, Charlie manages to get himself centre shot in every scene he appears. He even gives himself a couple of medium close-ups something no other member of the cast is permitted and often overacts shamelessly so that, even when he's bad, he's nothing less than entertaining. The rest of the film is fairly ordinary and, as with most of these films, a pre-knowledge of the play in question is pretty much critical if you want to make sense of what's going on up on the screen.
Another of the ambitious releases by this house. This reproduction of one of Shakespeare's most pleasing comedies is satisfactory in every particular. The staging is according to the best traditions of Shakespeare's time and the acting is in harmony with the modern understanding of the piece. The story is known to all readers of English and need not be repeated. The acting appears to interpret what may be termed the modern impression of the Shakespearian drama. Of course, much must be eliminated, otherwise it would be impossible to make any adequate reproduction of the play. The condensing has been done by a master hand, however, and does not mar the piece itself. In some degree, perhaps, it is an improvement, since it eliminates many of those portions which illuminate the main story, though they are not essential to its development, nor to an understanding of it. Manufacturers who endeavor to place such pictures before audiences numbering in the aggregate many thousands scattered through the country are to be commended. It brings to the many who really enjoy this drama an opportunity to see it adequately performed, and at a nominal cost. It elevates and improves the literary taste and appreciation of the great mass of the people, performing in this way service which cannot be measured in material terms. Such work is in the nature of an educational service, which is deserving of the heartiest support of all who are working for the improvement of humanity. - The Moving Picture World, February 19, 1910
This early adaptation of William Shakespeare's classic comedy "Twelfth
Night, Or What You Will" is typical of the period in which it was made.
The production is more theatrical than cinematic, intertitles are
placed in between scenes to describe what is going on, and all the
actors play to the back row. The subplot with Malvolio is handled
rather poorly and feels tacked on due to time constraints. The
resolution is unsatisfying as well; the picture could have benefited
from at least another minute or two, I think.
Nevertheless, it has beautiful Elizabethan costumes and will prove entertaining for enthusiasts of cinema history or Shakespeare.
This isn't a particularly great film to watch today, as the film is so very, very sketchy you'd hardly recognize that it's based on a Shakespeare play! Imagine boiling all of his play into only 13 minutes! Well, they did it and the general plot IS recognizable, but all of the subtlety is missing. About the only really good feature is the costumes--very good for 1910. So I would NOT advise lovers of the Bard to watch the film, but instead see it as more a curio for historians and Cinephiles. Interesting, though not all that good and hardly something many people would want to watch in the 21st century due to its brevity and lackluster production values.
Twelfth Night (1910)
** (out of 4)
The story is very clear in this one but that's about it. The film drags even though it's a one reeler and the acting, direction and sets are all on the boring side. However, this must have been one of the first films to show a lesbian kiss so perhaps that'll give you a historical reason to see this.
King Lear (1909)
*** (out of 4)
Once again the story doesn't come across too clearly but I've still gotta recommend this baby due to the incredibly hand tinting. The work here is downright beautiful and perfectly done making this look and even feel just like a Technicolor film. Whoever did the drawing on this was way ahead of their time considering what most hand tinting jobs look like.
Merchant of Venice, The (1910)
** (out of 4)
Another weak Shakespeare adaptation, which has no story whatsoever and comes to an abrupt hault.
Richard III (1911)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Decent version of Shakespeares play benefits from some good performances and some nice atmosphere. The story here is pretty easy to follow and seems to be filmed from an actual stage production.
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