A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Director: William Dieterle, Max Reinhardt Cast: James Cagney, Ian Hunter

DVD (Remastered / Full Frame)

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Overview

Max Reinhardt's legendary Hollywood Bowl production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream was transferred to the screen by Warner Bros. in 1935. Like most of Shakespeare's comedies, the story contains several seemingly unrelated plotlines, all tied together by a single unifying event, in this instance the impending wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. One story thread concerns the mistaken-identity romances of four young Athenians; another involves a group of "rude mechanicals" who plan to stage a production of "Pyramus and Thisbe" in honor of the wedding; and third plot strand is motivated by the mischievous misbehavior of invisible fairies Oberon, Titania, and Puck. While one of the members of Reinhardt's original stage cast, Olivia De Havilland (Hermia) was retained for the film version, the remainder of the roles went to Warners' ever-reliable stock company. Some of the casting is inspired: James Cagney is brilliant as vainglorious amateur thespian Bottom, while Joe E. Brown is ideal as the reluctant female impersonator Flute. As the four lovers, De Havilland and Jean Muir far outshine the smirking and simpering Dick Powell and Ross Alexander. In the dominion of the fairies, Mickey Rooney is a bit too precious as Puck, but Anita Louise is a lovely Titania and Victor Jory a suitably menacing Oberon (his opening line "Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania!" still sends shivers down our spines). Cagney and Brown's fellow "mechanicals" are an odd mixture of the sublime (Frank McHugh) and the just plain silly (Hugh Herbert). While the performances and direction (by Reinhardt and William Dieterle) are uneven, the art direction and special effects (especially the nocturnal dance of the fairies) are breathtakingly beautiful. Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream" incidental music is masterfully orchestrated by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, while the cinematography by Hal Mohr earned the first write-in Academy Award in Hollywood history (Mohr had not been nominated due to hostilities arising from a recent industry strike). Considered a brave failure at the time of its first release, on a purely visual level A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of the more satisfying Shakespearean cinemadaptations of Hollywood's golden age.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/14/2007
UPC: 0012569591226
Original Release: 1935
Rating: NR
Source: Warner Home Video
Region Code: 1
Time: 2:23:00
Sales rank: 11,822

Special Features

Commentary by film historian Scott MacQueen; Olivia de Havilland screen test; Vintage featurette a Dream Comes True; Presenting... ; Gallery of 6 teaser trailers showcasing cast members; Warner Bros. Studio Café teaser trailer; Musical short Shake Mr. Shakespeare; Theatrical trailer; Subtitles: English, Français & Português (main feature. bonus material/trailer may not be subtitled)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Cagney Bottom
Ian Hunter Theseus
Olivia de Havilland Hermia
Grant Mitchell Egeus
Mickey Rooney Puck
Ross Alexander Demetrius
Victor Jory Oberon
Joe E. Brown Flute
Hobart Cavanaugh Philostrate
Dick Powell Lysander
Frank McHugh Quince
Dewey Robinson Snug
Hugh Herbert Snout
Otis Harlan Starveling
Arthur Treacher Ninny's Tomb
Veree Teasdale Hippolyta, Queen of Amazons
Jean Muir Helena
Anita Louise Titania
Katherine Frey Pease-Blossom
Helen Westcott Cobweb
Fred Sale Moth
Billy Barty Mustard-Seed
Nini Theilade First Fairy
Kenneth Anger Changeling Prince

Technical Credits
William Dieterle Director
Max Reinhardt Director,Producer
Ralph Dawson Editor
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Anton Grot Art Director
Byron Haskin Special Effects
Fred Jackman Special Effects
Charles Kenyon Screenwriter
H.F. Koenekamp Special Effects
Erich Wolfgang Korngold Musical Direction/Supervision
Mary C. McCall Screenwriter
Hal Mohr Cinematographer
Max Ree Costumes/Costume Designer
Nini Theilade Choreography
Perc Westmore Makeup

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- A Midsummer Night's Dream
1. Overture [6:29]
2. Credits [2:02]
3. Pomp and Reveling [4:42]
4. Hermia's Options [1:43]
5. Rendezvous Plan [4:34]
6. Players of Parts [5:47]
7. Enchanted Wood [3:36]
8. Fairy Frolic [5:50]
9. Oberon's Command [3:07]
10. Demetrius and Helena [3:33]
11. Juice of the Flower [3:00]
12. Potion for Titania [3:01]
13. Potion for Lysander [4:52]
14. What Fools These Mortals [5:04]
15. Pyramus and Thisby Rehearsed [5:02]
16. An Ass of Bottom [4:23]
17. Lovestruck Titania [5:56]
18. Waiting Upon Bottom [3:04]
19. Intermission [:42]
20. Hellbent on Helena [4:53]
21. Contentious Couples [6:01]
22. Lulled to Sleep [8:15]
23. Donkey's Desires [4:22]
24. Departures To Fairyland [6:54]
25. Exit Oberon, Titania and Puck [4:05]
26. Bottom's Dream [4:51]
27. Theseus' Decree [2:23]
28. Royal Festivity [4:18]
29. Pyramus and Thisby Enacted [6:16]
30. Dying on Stage [6:31]
31. If We Shadows Have Offended [4:29]
32. Exit Music [2:58]

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A Midsummer Night's Dream 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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