British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Hamlet

Alternative title
Hamlet: The Drama of Vengeance
Synopsis
Feature film which presents Hamlet as a princess. While the King of Denmark is seriously ill his wife gives birth to a daughter, telling the court that a son has been born in order to safeguard the crown. The King recovers and the baby is raised as a boy. From this follows Hamlet’s secret passion for Horatio and rivalry with Ophelia for his love. Gertrude is presented as conspiring in her first husband’s murder. Hamlet kills Claudius in a fire immediately upon returning from Norway with an army led by old school friend Fortinbras, and it falls to Gertrude to engineer Hamlet’s death in the fencing match as well as kill herself by accidentally drinking the poisoned wine.
Country
Germany
Medium
Film
Technical information
Black-and-white / Silent
Year of release
1920
Duration
86 mins; 7,764 feet

Credits

Director
Heinz Schall; Svend Gade
Cinematographer
Axel Graatkjaar; Curt Courant
Screenplay
Erwin Gepard
Costume
Hugo Baruch; L. Verch
Cast
Asta NielsenHamlet
Eduard von WintersteinClaudius
Mathilde BrandtGertrude
Hans JunkermannPolonius
Lilly JacobssenOphelia
Anton de VerdierLaertes
Fritz AchterbergFortinbras
Heinz SteidaHoratio
Paul ConradiGhost

Additional Details

Production type
Fiction Films
Plays
Hamlet
Subjects
Drama
Keywords
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616); Gender reversal

Notes

Notes
The viewing copy held by the BFI National Archive is 6,610ft (73mins) has English flash titles.
History
HAMLET had its premiere in Berlin 4 February 1921.
Reviews
Ball, Robert Hamilton. Shakespeare on Silent Film: A Strange Eventful History. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1968 (p272-8, 375-6). Ball gives a detailed account of the film’s various sources.

Howard, Tony. Women as Hamlet: Performance and Interpretation in Theatre, Film, and Fiction. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

Thompson, Ann. ‘Asta Nielsen and the Mystery of Hamlet’ in Boose Lynda, E. & Richard Burt (eds). Shakespeare the Movie: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV and Video (London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 215-224.

Buchanan, Judith. ‘Asta Nielsen and Emil Jannings: stars of German Shakespeare Films of the early 1920s.' Shakespeare on Silent Film: An Excellent Dumb Discourse (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009). pp. 217-251.

Production Company

Name

Art-Film

Archive

Name

BFI National Archive

Web
http://www.bfi.org.uk/archive-collections/searching-access-collections/research-viewing-services External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7255 1444
Fax
020 7436 0165
Address
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN
Name

Museum of Modern Art

Email
fsc@moma.org
Web
http://www.moma.org External site opens in new window
Phone
9212) 708-9613
Address
Celeste Bartos International Film Study Center
11 West 53 Street
New York, New York 10019-5497

Distributor (Sale)

Name

Deutsches Filminstitut - DIF

Email
schurig@deutsches-filminstitut.de
Web
http://www.deutsches-filminstitut.de External site opens in new window
Phone
0611 97 000 10
Fax
0611 97 000 15
Address
Filmarchiv
Kreuzberger Ring 56
65205 Wiesbaden
Germany

Record Stats

This record has been viewed 495 times.