Warner Brothers presents a MaxReinhardft Production , William Shakespeare's A MID SUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, Directors Max Reinhardt & William Dietrele, Producers Henry Blanke, Hal B. Wallis and Jack L. Warner, Writers Charles Kenyon, Mary C. McCall,Jr., Bardov Avon & Willam Shakespeare, Original Incidental Music by Felix Mendelssohn, also Music Arrandements by Erich Wolfgang Kornkoldt, Musical Director Leo Forbstein. With: James Cagney, Joe E. Brown, Dick Powell, Mickey Rooney, Victor Jory, Ian Hunter, Victor Jory, Verree Teasdale, Hobart Cavanaugh, Ross Alexander Olivia de Haviland,Jean Muir, Grant Mitchell, Frank McHugh, Hugh Herbert, Dewey Robinson, Arthur Treacher, Anita Louise, Nini Theilade, Billy Barty, Sheiola Brown, Carol Ellis, Catherine Frey, Shep Houton, Angelo Rossito, Fred Sale, Helen Wescot.
Because of the intense scrutiny of the movie camera and our great devotion even addiction to the motion picture, both as an entertainment and a genuine Art Form; we some times sell the film Actors a little short. That is, we often confuse the Person with the Character being portrayed on the screen. Thus, we find ourselves as active agents in propagating that bane of all Thespians, "Typecasting!"* Just because an Actor has been very successful as, say a Cowboy Star, doesn't mean that he has any equestrian skills, nor that he can so handily discharge a Colt .45. The roles portrayed influence our own judgment and perception. The person we see on the screen, which is basically an illusion, is perceived as being the 'real McCoy'. This is sort of a practical application of the line spoken by Carleton Young as the Newspaper Editor in John Ford's THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962). Remember? "When the Fact becomes Legend, print the Legend!" A lot of this line of thinking struck us some years back, when we saw Frank McHugh interviewed by Dick Cavett on the latter's TV Show. Mr. McHugh was most eager and delighted to talk about his career and his background. In listening to his answers to Cavett's insightful interrogatives, we discovered just how experienced a guy like him is in the Legitimate Theatre, not to mention his Film Work and experiences.
In this 1935 Warner Brothers super Production of William Shakespeare's A MID SUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, replete with Felix Mendelssohn's Original Score which includes the Overture and the Incidental Music. As for the cast, they are a collection of Hollywood's Film Actors, mostly Warner's Contract Players. There are quite a few free-lancers, as well as those on loan from other Studios; such as the young Mickey Rooney, courtesy of MGM.
It was this film that gave a certain delight and pleasant surprise to the Depression Era Movie Goers in seeing the likes of James Cagney, Olivia DeHaviland, Dick Powell and even Hugh Herbert doing their interpretations of the Shakespearian Classics. Some of course were probably annoyed by the break from the Tinsel Town norm. But, well you can't please everybody.
In addition to bringing this "High Brow" material to the masses, the creation of the sets used were very influential in future films, especially in the areas of Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction. The dark forest, the foggy appearance of the night scenes and the super star studded, heavily twinkling blackness of the sky are among the most magnificent heirlooms of the film's legacy.
As for its being a faithful adaptation of an Elizabethan Era play, it appears that it is quite a bit closer to the original than say that modern, updated production of "A MID SUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM" (1999), with Kevin Kline & Company . Now please do not think that means that we didn't enjoy the 1999 version, because we did. It's just that we liked the 1935 version better.
NOTE * That's not to say that Typecasting was not good for many an Actors' career & Bank Account. Just look at the resumes of so many movie people have compiled and how they worked so often because of identification with a particular "type". Just let us take for example; Marc Lawrence, Sheldon Leonard, Stanley Fields and Ben Welden: Gangsters all. Gino Corrado is everybody's favourite Waiter. Earl Hodgins is always there when we need a Carnival Barker. We could go on all day!
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