A tragic and sentimental story that depicts the early career of the 19th century American actor, Edwin Booth with some mention of the events leading to the assassination of President ...
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Derek N. Twist
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The first puppet kinescope in the world. It is based on the famous poetic comedy by William Shakespeare. Three worlds meet in this story: the noble world of three Athens couples, a common ... See full summary »
A tragic and sentimental story that depicts the early career of the 19th century American actor, Edwin Booth with some mention of the events leading to the assassination of President Lincoln by Edwin's brother, John Wilkes Booth. In the film, Edwin's days in the spotlight dwindle shortly after his brother is caught and killed for assassinating Lincoln.Written by
Anti-slavery activist John Brown figures in this film and is seen in silhouette in a jail cell in one scene. Raymond Massey, who plays Junius Brutus Booth, played John Brown in Seven Angry Men (1955), which was made in the same year as this film. He'd also played John Brown in Santa Fe Trail (1940) in 1940, the same year he played Abraham Lincoln in Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940). (In real life, John Wilkes Booth was a witness at the 1859 hanging of John Brown.) See more »
When Edwin goes to meet John at their sister's request, the soldiers in the saloon and guarding John Brown's cell are wearing gray uniforms with blue trim. This is Hollywood's version of Confederate Infantry uniforms. However, Brown was executed on December 2, 1859, a full year before South Carolina seceded from the Union. The uniforms should have been Federal regular Army dark blue. See more »
I first saw this when I was in high school and thinking of becoming an actor. Burton's performance and the film's highly romantic vision of Booth as the brooding "natural" Hamlet hooked me. Although it has the outlines of a typical biopic, The Prince of Players offers an extraordinary display of the kind of acting that, at its best, dominated the 19th century stage. Burton was one of the few 20th century artists who knew how to balance a ringing declamatory style with honest, full bodied emotions. It is so different from the typical modern understatement that some audience won't be able to adjust to it. But for those who relish language along with fire in the blood, this is as good as it gets on film. The portrait of the actor Edwin Booth, a man overburdened with the cares of the world, as impetuous, self-indulgent, and nearly batty, is a bit overheated. But it's a typical view of the artist in the mad tradition of Poe. Very 19th Century--and well worth knowing.
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