One of the films in the 3-disk boxed DVD set called "More Treasures from American Film Archives (2004)", compiled by the National Film Preservation Foundation from 5 American film archives. This film has a running time of 5 minutes. See more »
History walks up to a movie camera and unloads. There are so many of the greats of the past whom we can only surmise how they were like in real life. Was Oscar Wilde effeminate? Was Joan of Arc ugly? Did Shakespeare have a sense of humor? Here Shaw pretty much directs himself in a short first person film which he wrote. He starts off feigning surprise long before it became standard practice on Murrow's Person to Person, every late night talk show and unbelievably contrived 'reality' shows. In 1928, when for the first time he could use the medium to express himself using his stock-in-trade, i.e. : words, he goes out of his way to insult Mussolini, at a time when a lot of people, who should have known better, were busy praising him (e.g. He made the trains run on time etc.) We hear his voice and discern only the slightest of Irish lilts but also find that he doesn't wallow in some plumy RP prattle. It is a kind of immortality all the more charming for its deliberately contrived off handedness.
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