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King John (1899)

King John does whatever it takes to keep himself on the throne of England, making enemies of the pope, France, and his nephew along the way.

Writers:

(play), (adaptation)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Herbert Beerbohm Tree ... King John
Dora Tulloch ... Prince Henry (as Dora Senior)
Charles Sefton ... Arthur
J. Fisher White ... Earl of Pembroke (as James Fisher)
S.A. Cookson ... Earl of Salisbury
Franklyn McLeay ... Hubert de Burgh
... Philip Faulconbridge
... Constance
William Mollison ... Philip, King of France
Gerald Lawrence ... Lewis, the Dauphin
Louis Calvert ... Cardinal Pandulph
Norman McKinnel ... Lymoges
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Storyline

Based on Shakespeare's play, Act V, Scene vii: King John is in torment, and his supporters fear that his end is near. As he writhes in agony, he is attended by Prince Henry, the Earl of Pembroke, and Robert Bigot. Prince Henry tries repeatedly to comfort his delirious father, but to no avail - John's pain is too great. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

prince | king | earl | kneel | baron | See All (31) »

Taglines:

'King John'. Scenes from Mr. Beerbohm Tree's latest production See more »

Genres:

Short | Drama

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Release Date:

20 September 1899 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Beerbohm Tree, the Great English Actor  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(full) | (extant)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first known film of a William Shakespeare work. Only one of the four scenes is extant, Scene Three, showing King John dying from poisoning. Scene One depicted John inducing Hubert to kill Arthur, Scene Two, Constance's grief at the loss of Arthur and the last Scene, Four, portrayed John's death. See more »

Quotes

King John: Ay marry, now my soul hath elbow room,/ It would not out at windows, nor at doors,/ There is so hot a summer in my bosom,/ That all my bowels crumble up to dust:/ I am a scribbled form drawn with a pen/ Upon a parchment, and against this fire/ Do I shrink up.
Prince Henry: How fares your Majesty?
King John: Poison'd, ill fare: dead, forsook, cast off,/ And none of you will bid the winter come/ To thrust his icy fingers in my maw;/ Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course/ Through my burn'd bosom: nor entreat the ...
[...]
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User Reviews

An Interesting Piece of Cinema History
28 February 2005 | by See all my reviews

While not especially detailed or action-packed, this short movie is quite an interesting piece of cinema history. It affords a look at the renowned stage actor Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, in what must have been his first screen role, and it is also one of the very earliest screen adaptations of classic literature. In itself, it is not bad at all for material that is not particularly well-suited for a silent movie.

The footage comes from the last scene of Shakespeare's "King John", and depicts the king (Sir Herbert) in agony, both mental and physical. It's the kind of scene that offers a stage actor some fine opportunities for dramatics and the like, but it's something of a curious choice for early movie footage, compared with some of Shakespeare's other, more action packed works. Yet at that, it does not work badly.

While Sir Herbert's style is clearly based on the stage, he nevertheless convincingly portrays King John's torment, and if you read some of John's lines while watching the footage, it fits together. Prince Henry's vain efforts to comfort his father also come across believably. The setting and background likewise are stage-like, and yet they work in adding a little detail and atmosphere.

All in all, this is worth seeing for a number of reasons.


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