British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Play on!: Shakespeare in Silent Film

Synopsis
A feature-length celebration of Shakespeare on silent film drawing on two dozen titles from the BFI National Archive many of which are rarely seen. Of the estimated 300 Shakespeare films produced in the silent era, only a fraction remain and some of the most outstanding examples have been curated in this special release. They include, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree’s King John (1899); Hamlet addressing Yorick’s skull; King Lear battling a raging storm at Stonehenge; The Merchant of Venice in vibrant stencil colour; the fairy magic of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and what was probably John Gielgud’s first appearance on film, in the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.
The films are newly digitised and accompanied by music from the composers and musicians of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Medium
Video
Technical information
Black-and-white / Silent
Year of release
2016
Duration
63 mins

Credits

Producer
Jane Giles
Writer
William Shakespeare
Editor
Becky Jones
Music
Alex Baranowski; Jules Maxwell; Sophie Cotton; Stephen Warbeck
Contributor
Bill Barclay; Bryony Dixon; Judith Buchanan

Additional Details

Production type
Fiction Films
Subjects
Drama; Film studies; Shakespeare
Keywords
silent films; Shakespeare on film

Notes

Notes
Dual format edition contains both Blu-ray and DVD. Special features: Presented in both High and Standard Definition.
INTRODUCTION TO SILENT SHAKESPEARE (2016, 10 mins)
PLAY ON! MAKING THE MUSIC (2016, 11 mins)
KING LEAR (1910, 13 mins, silent with commentary by Judith Buchanan)
THE WINTER’S TALE (1913, 43 mins, silent with commentary by Judith Buchanan)
LIVING PAINTINGS (ROMEO AND JULIET) (1924, 1 min, silent with commentary by Judith Buchanan)
SILENT SHAKESPEARE (2004, 88 mins): programme of silent Shakespeare films,
previously released on BFI DVD, with music by Laura Rossi and optional commentaries by Judith Buchanan
Illustrated booklet with new writing by Bryony Dixon (silent film curator, BFI National Archive and Bill Barclay (director of music, Shakespeare’s Globe).
General
Black and white, tinted and colour.

Distributor

Name

BFI Video

Email
video.films@bfi.org.uk
Web
http://www.bfi.org.uk External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7957 8957
Fax
020 7957 8968
Address
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN
Name

Retail outlets

Name

shop.bfi.org.uk

Email
bfishop@bfi.org.uk
Phone
020 7815 1350
Address
BFI Southbank
Belvedere Road
South Bank
London
SE1 8XT

Record Stats

This record has been viewed 376 times.