“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is purportedly the most-produced of all the Bard’s plays, but neither that nugget nor its cinematically friendly fantasy elements has done it many favors on film. Hollywood’s most famous stab was a notorious flop — stage titan Max Reinhardt
’s garish 1935 Warner Bros.
extravaganza featuring such unlikely (and highly variable) Shakespearean actors as Dick Powell
, James Cagney
, Mickey Rooney
and Joe E. Brown
. An almost equally starry 1999 effort, shot in Italy with Kevin Kline
, Michelle Pfeiffer
, Calista Flockhart
and Christian Bale
, wasn’t much better.
Since then there’s been the lamentably self-explanatory “A Midsummer Night’s Rave,” and the inexplicable “Strange Magic
,” one Disney
cartoon that children of all ages found easy to resist. That’s 80 years of evidence suggesting “Dream” might best be left sleeping by American filmmakers.
All the more surprising, then, that director-adapter Casey Wilder Mott
’s debut feature proves