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A Midsummer Night's Dream (1996)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Romance | 29 November 1996 (UK)
Filmed adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company's 1996 version of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'.


Adrian Noble


William Shakespeare (play)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Lindsay Duncan ... Hippolyta / Titania
Alex Jennings ... Theseus / Oberon
Desmond Barrit ... Nick Bottom
Finbar Lynch ... Philostrate / Puck (as Barry Lynch)
Monica Dolan ... Hermia
Kevin Doyle ... Demetrius
Daniel Evans ... Lysander
Emily Raymond Emily Raymond ... Helena
Alfred Burke Alfred Burke ... Egeus
Howard Crossley Howard Crossley ... Tom Snout / Fairy
Robert Gillespie ... Robin Starveling / Cobweb
John Kane ... Peter Quince / Mustardseed
Mark Letheren Mark Letheren ... Francis Flute / Peaseblossom
Kenn Sabberton Kenn Sabberton ... Snug
Ann Hasson Ann Hasson ... First Fairy


A boy dreams the play. Authority in Athens is shaky: Hermia rejects her father's choice, the Duke backs her father, and the Duchess sides with Hermia. Dad's choice, Demetrius, pursues Hermia but is loved by Helena. When Hermia and her lover meet in the woods the next night, Helena tells Demetrius in hopes she can follow and change his mind. Also in the woods are craftsmen preparing a play, plus the fairies: the fairy rulers, Oberon and Titania, are at odds, so Oberon conjures a spell and Titania falls for a craftsman bewitched with the ears of an ass. Oberon's sprite, Puck, also tries to bring the four young lovers into compatible couples but makes an error before all is right. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Comedy | Romance


PG-13 | See all certifications »

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User Reviews

A misfire
27 March 2001 | by drn5See all my reviews

This film is based on a wonderful stage production that was staged by the RSC in 1994. On stage it was superb, and I think of it as one of the best times I've ever had in the theatre.

The film, however, is a complete mess. All the effects that were so magical in the theatre - the forest of lightbulbs, the flying umbrellas, the mysterious doors - look ridiculous when they're turned into bad computer graphics. And although some of the performances are good - especially Alex Jennings and Des Barritt - the pacing of the film seems poor. In particular, the mechanicals scenes are stilted and unfunny - and 'Pyramus and Thisbe' is mangled with poorly-timed slapstick and glooping sentimentality. And most annoyingly of all, Noble introduces a Macauley Culkin lookalike, who runs around being wide-eyed and imaginitive, infusing the film with unnecesary Hollywood schmaltz.

I regard this film as a brave, but poorly-executed attempt at translating faithfully a stage production to film. It doesn't really work, but at least Noble's vision is more imaginitive than the other films of the 'Dream'. And bad though the film is, it's still better than the ghastly Michelle Pfeiffer / Kevin Kline version, which should be avoided like the plague.

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Release Date:

29 November 1996 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Midsummer Night's Dream See more »

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