3/8/08

SHAKESPEARE in THE MOVIES



Shakespeare in Teen Movies:


By the mid-1990s, Shakespeare’s ever-evolving relationship with Hollywood had spun off in an unexpected direction: the teen movie. Young stars like Heath Ledger, Leonardo DiCaprio, Amanda Bynes, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Mekhi Phifer, to name only a few, found themselves playing Shakespeare-inspired high-school athletes, cheerleaders, gang-bangers, and other characters in movies like O, 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s the Man, and Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet—among others. Film historian Vicki Botnick explores the youth movie tren:There are two directions in which Shakespeare's gone in the past twenty years, probably. One of them is not very Americanized and that is the sort of classic, more literal, prestige projects done by, typically with, a big star, often with a European director, usually they're speaking with a British accent. That would be maybe Mel Gibson's Hamlet, or more recently, Al Pacino's Merchant of Venice, and those are not Americanized.
But there's another direction that cinema has gone more recently, that you could certainly call Hollywoodized, and that's the teen adaptations, and that's films like O, 10 Things I Hate About You, Scotland, PA, She's The Man, which is an interpretation of Twelfth Night starring Amanda Bynes. So these are very loose interpretations made to attract a teenage crowd. Certainly that's because Hollywood wants to appeal to a teen demographic. They're supposed to have a lot of disposable income, it's a very flashy demographic to get.
One thing that Hollywood is focused on right now is the high concept film. And that's where you have a fairly simple concept with a hook that can be described in one sentence, and Shakespeare is really easy to reduce to that because the plots are so classic and so primal. So you could take something like Romeo and Juliet, which people would typically think of as being complex and intellectual, and you could give it this great pitch sentence like, "two gorgeous teenagers desperately in love, and their parents want so badly to keep them apart that they end up killing themselves for the ultimate romance." And you could really sell it to a studio head that way, so it is very easy to market.
There's also the prestige that comes with using Shakespeare's name, and there's the fact that you can attract really great stars with the project, because obviously the characters in Shakespeare are so fantastic, so multi-layered, so complex. The women are just as strong as the men. So it's easy to get stars attached.

Shaping the Plays for Teen Movie Audiences:
There's so much going on in any one Shakespeare play that it's easy to cut, to use only the themes that are relevant to the time, only a theme that might be hot for the time, or to cut it down so that it can be a shorter length, because they are all so long and complex on the stage. And with something like O, which is based on Othello, there's a whole important theme running through about age difference because Othello and Desdemona and Iago are all different in age and there's a jealousy going on about that. But since O is set in a high school where everyone is a teenager, you can just completely cut that whole theme and still have this incredibly complex story with lots of other themes that you can work through.
10 Things I Hate About You is based on Taming of the Shrew, and again it's set in teenage times. There's much more of an emphasis on the bawdy humor in the play, on a woman who—in the play, there's a sort of anti-feminist theme running through where she needs to be tamed, whereas in a 1990s update of that, of course, the woman's going to be strong throughout and it's really probably the man who's going to be tamed romantically instead. So you can tweak things but still have all the important themes there.
Romeo and Juliet—in the play, religion is pretty important and many, many adaptations onscreen have sort of excised that whole theme out of the story because it wasn't very vogue at the time. Whereas Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet brings it back again. So, you can really cut and pick different themes as you choose.

One thing that I was thinking about in terms of teen adaptations is that the purists are often really horrified by them.
Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, for example, took a lot of liberties with the story and with the visual style, so that it's got a very modern, hip-hop, violent, sexy kind of flair to it, and many critics said that it was kind of sacrilege to play around with Shakespeare. Whereas the truth is that Shakespeare played around with his own plays all the time, and the real sacrilege is with the other teen adaptations that tend to cut out all of the Shakespearean language, which Romeo + Juliet didn't do at all. It kept a lot of the actual text from the play and didn't assume that a young audience couldn't understand it or wouldn't relate to it, or that it would get in the way somehow of the modernization and of feeling really contemporary
It is a gamble for Luhrmann to make a teen adaptation and keep all the Shakespearean language, but the truth is, he cut it down to pretty bare bones, and a lot of the language in a Shakespearean play is dependent on the way it's read and the background that you can see to help you to interpret the words. So I think that a lot of the lines that Luhrmann left in were not the ones that have a lot of difficult vocabulary or that would be hard to interpret, even to an audience that's not very familiar with it.

Shakespeare in Hollywood's Golden Age:

In 1935 and 1936, Warner Brothers and MGM produced two major motion pictures of Shakespeare plays, each packed with well known stars and utilizing all the technical resources of the studio system in its heyday. Patricia King Hanson considers what artistic aspirations may have led Hollywood studios to this interest in Shakespeare—and what kinds of films resulted.
Now, we have an impression of studio bosses, which may or may not be 100 percent accurate. But in addition to looking for the bottom line, I think a lot of the studio heads, and a lot of the production heads—remember, sometimes the production head and the studio head would be at odds over what should be presented, so it's not just one person in charge of everything—but they did have a feeling in the 30s that, as people were going and watching all these musicals and comedies and so forth, that they should have some intellectually and emotionally inspiring films, that they should kind of elevate their audiences.
So you see a lot of films in the 30s and 40s, but particularly 30s, in which they have concert music, in which operas are presented, Shakespearean plays, Eugene O'Neill plays. When you look at those kind of things now, it's hard to believe that they thought these were going to be great money-makers. In most cases they were not, and I think in most cases they knew they wouldn't be, but they felt that among the maybe 30 to 50 films a year they might be releasing, they could have a few showpiece films that would show people, "Hey, we do some pretty great things here, and we're really trying to elevate our audiences."
So, I don't know what exactly their interior motivation was, but it's definitely true that they had a certain number of films which they considered films that were uplifting, high-class if you will, and would show an artistic side to Hollywood filmmaking that perhaps people wouldn't otherwise find.
Listen To The Documentary




Movie and Television List based on Shakespeare's




2006. Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss, Phil Nibbelink Productions and Indican Pictures. Directed by Phil Nibbelink. A full-length animated version of Romeo and Juliet that takes place under the sea between feuding seal families.
2006. She’s the Man, Donners’ Company, Dreamworks SKG, and Lakeshore Entertainment. Directed by Andy Fickman. With Amanda Bynes (Viola). Twelfth Night is transported to a modern private school when female athlete Viola must disguise herself and attend her twin brother’s all-male academy after her own school’s soccer team is cut.
2005. The Hobart Shakespeareans, Mel Stuart, Thirteen/WNET and P.O.V./American Documentary. Directed and produced by Mel Stuart, with appearances by Ian McKellan and Michael York. Documentary about fifth-grade teacher Rafe Esquith’s classes at a Los Angeles public school where most students speak English as a second language; among other academic challenges, the students learn about Shakespeare’s works and produce one of his plays—in this case, Hamlet.
2005. Shakespeare Behind Bars, Philomath Films. Directed by Hank Rogerson and produced by Joann Spitzmiller. Documentary about a Shakespeare acting program for inmates of a medium-security prison in LaGrange, Kentucky, filmed as they prepare a production of The Tempest.
2004. The Goodbye Girl, Turner Network Television. Directed by Richard Benjamin. With Jeff Daniels (Elliot Garfield), Patricia Heaton (Paula McFadden), Hallie Kate Eisenberg (Linda McFadden), and Alan Cumming (Mark). Although not directly based on a Shakespeare play, the film involves a production of Richard III. Remake of the 1977 movie. Television production.
2004. The Merchant of Venice, Spice Factory Limited in association with UK Film Council. Directed by Michael Radford. With Al Pacino (Shylock), Jeremy Irons (Antonio), and Joseph Fiennes (Bassanio).
2003. Fairies, SPEAKproductions. Directed by Thomas Gustafson. After constant bullying from his homophobic classmates, a young boy uses A Midsummer Night’s Dream to imagine a world where he fits in.
2003. Skin, Jerry Bruckheimer Television and Warner Bros. Television for Fox Network. Created by Jim Leonard. The daughter of a liberal Jewish pornographer falls in love with the son of the conservative Catholic district attorney determined to bring him down in this short-lived television series (eight episodes) based on Romeo and Juliet. Television production.
2002. King of Texas, Hallmark Entertainment and Turner Network Television. Directed by Uli Edel. With Patrick Stewart (John Lear) and Marcia Gay Harden (Mrs. Susannah Lear Turlington). King Lear set on a ranch in the Old West. Television production.
2001. Get Over It!, Ignite Entertainment and Miramax Films. Directed by Tommy O’Haver. With Kirsten Dunst (Kelly Woods), Sisqó (Dennis Wallace), Mila Kunis (Basin), Shane West (Striker), Carmen Electra (Mistress Moira), and Martin Short (Dr. Desmond Forrest Oates). A high school boy gets involved in a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to win his girlfriend back, until he falls in love with her younger sister.
2001. O, FilmEngine and Lions Gate Films. Directed by Tim Blake Nelson. With Mekhi Phifer (Odin James), Josh Hartnett (Hugo Goulding), and Julia Stiles (Desi Brable). Othello set in a modern high school, with the basketball coach’s white son jealous of the black star of the team and his beautiful girlfriend.
2001. Richard II, Farrellmedia Inc. Directed by John Farrell.
2001. Scotland, PA, Abandon Pictures. Directed by Billy Morrissette. With James LeGros (Joe McBeth), Maura Tierney (Pat McBeth), and Christopher Walken (Lieutenant McDuff). Macbeth plays itself out in a fast food restaurant as Joe McBeth is persuaded to kill his boss and take over Duncan’s burger kingdom.
2000. The Distinct Smell of Red, Malamute Entertainment. Directed by Jason Kittelberger. A lonely flower shop employee becomes obsessed with trying to find his Juliet after reading the Cliff Notes for Romeo and Juliet.
2000. Hamlet, double A films. Directed by Michael Almereyda. With Ethan Hawke (Hamlet), Julia Stiles (Ophelia), Kyle MacLachlan (Claudius), and Bill Murray (Polonius).
2000. Hamlet, Hallmark Entertainment. Directed by Campbell Scott and Eric Simonson. Television production.
2000. Love’s Labours Lost, Arts Council of England, Canal+, and Miramax Films. Directed by Kenneth Branagh. With Alicia Silverstone (The Princess of France), Kenneth Branagh (Berowne), and Nathan Lane (Costard). A musical version of Love’s Labours Lost set in the 1930s.
2000. Romeo Must Die, Silver Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures. Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak. With Jet Li (Han Sing) and Aaliyah (Trish O’Day). A Romeo and Juliet adaptation featuring Chinese and black mob families as the Montagues and Capulets and lots of kung fu.
2000. Titus Andronicus, South Main Street Productions. Directed by Richard Griffin. Television production.
1999. Let the Devil Wear Black, New Moon Productions. Directed by Stacy Title. With Jonathan Penner (Jack Lyne), Jacqueline Bisset (Helen Lyne), Mary-Louise Parker (Julia Hirsch), and Chris Sarandon (Jack’s father). Hamlet is updated to modern-day southern California as a moody grad student is compelled to take revenge on his uncle for his father’s death in this almost-slasher film.
1999. Macbeth in Manhattan, Amber Waves. Directed by Greg Lombardo. A troupe of actors unfamiliar with the curse on the Scottish Play stage a production of Macbeth: mayhem ensues.
1999. Midsummer, Kerwin Productions. Directed by James Kerwin. A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Egyptian elements.
1999. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Fox Searchlight Pictures. Directed by Michael Hoffman. With Kevin Kline (Bottom), Michelle Pfeiffer (Titania), Stanley Tucci (Puck), Rupert Everett (Oberon), Calista Flockhart (Helena), and Christian Bale (Demetrius).
1999. 10 Things I Hate About You, A Mad Chance/Jaret Entertainment Production and Touchstone Pictures. Directed by Gil Junger. With Heath Ledger (Patrick Verona), Julia Stiles (Kat Stratford), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Cameron James), and Allison Janney (Ms. Perky). The Taming of the Shrew set in a modern California high school.
1999. Titus, Clear Blue Sky Productions and Fox Searchlight Pictures. Directed by Julie Taymor. With Anthony Hopkins (Titus), Jessica Lange (Tamora), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Chiron), and Alan Cumming (Saturninus).
1999. Titus Andronicus, Joe Redner Film & Productions. Directed by Christopher Dunne.

1998. The Tempest, Bonnie Raskin Production and NBC Studios. Directed by Jack Bender. With Peter Fonda (Gideon Prosper) and Katherine Heigl (Miranda Prosper). The Tempest set in the Civil War South. Television production.
1998. Twelfth Night, Live fromLincoln Center and PBS. Directed by Nicholas Hytner. With Helen Hunt (Viola), Kyra Sedgwick (Countess Olivia), and Paul Rudd (Duke Orsino). Filmed stage production / television production.
1997. A Thousand Acres, Beacon Communications LLC and Touchstone Pictures. Directed by Jocelyn Moorehouse. With Jessica Lange (Ginny Cook Smith), Michelle Pfeiffer (Rose Cook Lewis), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Caroline Cook), Jason Robards (Larry Cook), and Colin Firth (Jess Clark). King Lear on a Midwestern American farm, where three daughters despise their abusive father.
1997. Titus Andronicus: The Movie, Lorn Richey Productions. Directed by Lorn Richey. Television production.
1996. Hamlet, Castle Rock Corporation and Columbia Pictures Entertainment. Directed by Kenneth Branagh. With Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet), Kate Winslet (Ophelia), Julie Christie (Gertrude), and Derek Jacobi (Claudius).
1996. Looking for Richard, 20th Century Fox. Directed by Al Pacino. With Alec Baldwin (himself / Duke of Clarence), Al Pacino (himself / Richard III), Winona Ryder (Lady Anne), and Kenneth Branagh, John Gielgud, Derek Jacobi, Kevin Kline, Vanessa Redgrave, and James Earl Jones as themselves (among others). Pacino uses scenes from Richard III and interviews with scholars, other actors, and ordinary people to create a documentary about the play.
1996. Love is All There Is, Cinema 7 and Samuel Goldwyn Company. Directed by Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor. With Lainie Kazan (Sadie Capomezzo), Abe Vigoda (Rudy), and Angelina Jolie (Gina Malcici). Romeo and Juliet with two rival restaurant-owning Italian families in New York at constant odds—especially after their children fall in love.
1996. Romeo + Juliet, 20th Century Fox and Bazmark Films. Directed by Baz Luhrmann. With Leonardo DiCaprio (Romeo), Claire Danes (Juliet), John Leguizamo (Tybalt), Pete Postlethwaite (Father Laurence), and Brian Dennehy (Ted Montague).
1996. Tromeo and Juliet, Troma Entertainment Incorporated. Directed by Lloyd Kaufman. Extremely violent and sexual R-rated modern version of Romeo and Juliet, in keeping with the outrageous sensibility of Troma productions.
1995. The Fifteen Minute Hamlet, cin-ciné 19. Directed by Todd Louiso. With Philip Seymour Hoffman (Bernardo/Horatio/Laertes). Short film based on Tom Stoppard’s short play: William Shakespeare shoots a fifteen-minute version of Hamlet but is told to trim it down by a studio executive.
1995. Othello, Castle Rock Entertainment and Columbia Pictures Corporation. Directed by Oliver Parker. With Laurence Fishburne (Othello) and Kenneth Branagh (Iago).
1995. Richard III, Bayly/Paré Productions and United Artists. Directed by Richard Loncraine. With Ian McKellen (Richard III), Annette Bening (Queen Elizabeth), Jim Broadbent (Buckingham), and Robert Downey, Jr. (Lord Rivers).
1994. The Lion King, Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff. With the voices of Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Young Simba), Matthew Broderick (Adult Simba), Jeremy Irons (Scar), James Earl Jones (Mufasa), Nathan Lane (Timon), Rowan Atkinson (Zazu) and Whoopi Goldberg (Shenzi the Hyena). An animated tale of a lion cub, who after seeing his father killed, must find the strength to replace his evil uncle as the leader of the pride, is based loosely on Hamlet.
1994. Renaissance Man, Cinergi Pictures Entertainment, Inc. and Touchstone Pictures. Directed by Penny Marshall. With Danny DeVito (Bill Rago), Gregory Hines (Sergeant Cass), Ed Begley, Jr. (Jack Markin), and Mark Wahlberg (Pvt. Tommy Lee Haywood). A former advertising man finds work teaching Hamlet and Henry V to army recruits at a base camp.



1993. Much Ado About Nothing, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Renaissance Films, and Samuel Goldwyn Company. Directed by Kenneth Branagh. With Kenneth Branagh (Benedick), Emma Thompson (Beatrice), Keanu Reeves (Don John), Kate Beckinsale (Hero), Denzel Washington (Don Pedro), Michael Keaton (Dogberry), and Imelda Staunton (Margaret).
1991. Men of Respect, Arthur Goldblatt Productions and Central City Films. Directed by William Reilly. With John Turturro (Mike Battaglia), Dennis Farina (Bankie Como), Peter Boyle (Matt Duffy), Rod Steiger (Charlie D’Amico), and Stanley Tucci (Mal). After hearing a prophecy, a hitman executes his superiors and rises to the head of a mob family with dire consequences in this film inspired by Macbeth.
1991. My Own Private Idaho, New Line Cinema. Directed by Gus Van Sant. With River Phoenix (Mike Waters) and Keanu Reeves (Scott Favor). The story of two hustlers on a journey to find peace and a long-lost mother, inspired by Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2.
1990. The Godfather: Part III, Paramount Pictures and Zoetrope Studios. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. With Al Pacino (Michael Corleone), Diana Keaton (Kay Adams Michelson), Andy Garcia (Vinnie Mancini-Corleone), and Sofia Coppola (Mary Corleone). The last installment of the Godfather trilogy follows a King Lear-like plot, with a scene at the end that quotes directly from the play.
1990. Hamlet, Canal+ and Warner Brothers Pictures. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. With Mel Gibson (Hamlet), Glenn Close (Gertrude), Alan Bates (Claudius), Ian Holm (Polonius), Helena Bonham Carter (Ophelia), and Pete Postlethwaite (Player King).
1990. Hamlet, New York Shakespeare Festival. Directed by Kevin Kline. With Kevin Kline (Hamlet) and Michael Cumpsty (Laertes). Television production.
1990. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Brandenberg and Buena Vista Home Video. Directed by Tom Stoppard. With Gary Oldman (Rosencrantz), Tim Roth (Guildenstern), and Richard Dreyfuss (The Player). Two minor characters from Hamlet ponder life, reality, and the stage with the help of a group of traveling players.
1989. The Dead Poets’ Society, Silver Screen Partners IV and Touchstone Pictures. Directed by Peter Weir. With Robin Williams (John Keating), Robert Sean Leonard (Neil Perry), and Ethan Hawke (Todd Anderson). A drama about an inspiring teacher at a stuffy boys’ school that includes a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a major plot element.
1989. Othello, Rockbottom Productions. Directed by Ted Lange.
1987. The Comedy of Errors, Lincoln Center and PBS. Directed by Gregory Mosher and Robert Woodruff. With The Flying Karamazov Brothers. The Comedy of Errors as performed by a troupe of flying acrobats at Lincoln Center. Filmed stage production / television production.
1987. China Girl, Great American Films Limited Partnership. Directed by Abel Ferrara. With David Caruso (Mercury). Romeo and Juliet in New York City, with rival Italian and Chinese gangs as the feuding families.
1987. King Lear, Cannon Films. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard. With Woody Allen (Mr. Alien), Julie Delpy (Virginia), Burgess Meredith (Don Learo), Molly Ringwald (Cordelia), and Peter Sellars (William Shaksper Junior the Fifth). The great works of art have been lost and William Shaksper Junior the Fifth tries to reconstruct King Lear after being reminded of its plot by the strange inhabitants at a nearby resort.



1983. Antony and Cleopatra, Bard Productions. Directed by Lawrence Carra. With Timothy Dalton (Mark Antony) and Lynn Redgrave (Cleopatra). Television production.
1983. The Taming of the Shrew, Bard Productions. Directed by John Allison. Television production.
1983. The Tempest, Bard Productions. Directed by William Woodman. With Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (Prospero). Television production.
1983. To Be or Not to Be, 20th Century Fox and Brooksfilms Ltd. Directed by Alan Johnson. With Mel Brooks (Dr. Frederick Bronski), Anne Bancroft (Anna Bronski), Charles Durning (Colonel Erhardt), Jose Ferrer (Professor Siletski), and Christopher Lloyd (Captain Schultz). During the occupation of Poland, stage actors engaged in a production of Hamlet use parts of the play to prevent information about the Resistance from reaching the Nazis; remake.
1982. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ABC Video. Directed by Emile Ardolino. With Christine Baranski (Helena) and William Hurt (Oberon). Filmed stage production.
1982. Richard II, Bard Productions. Directed by William Woodman. With David Birney (Richard II). Television production.
1982. Tempest, Columbia Pictures Corporation. Directed by Paul Mazursky. With John Cassavetes (Phillip Dimitrius), Gena Rowlands (Antonia Dimitrius), Susan Sarandon (Aretha Tomalin), Raul Julia (Kalibanos), and Molly Ringwald (Miranda Dimitrius). Adaptation of The Tempest set in modern-day America and Greece.
1981. Macbeth, Bard Productions. Directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman. With Piper Laurie (Lady Macbeth). Television production.
1981. Othello, Bard Productions. Directed by Franklin Melton.
1977. The Goodbye Girl, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Warner Brothers Pictures. Directed by Herbert Ross. With Richard Dreyfuss (Elliot Garfield). Although not directly based on a Shakespeare play, the plot involves a production of Richard III.
1976. The Taming of the Shrew, American Conservatory Theatre and PBS. Directed by Kirk Browning. Filmed stage production / television production.



1974. Catch My Soul: Santa Fe Satan, Metromedia Productions. Directed by Patrick McGoohan. With Richie Havens (Othello). A rock opera version of Othello that originated on the London stage.
1974. Harry and Tonto, 20th Century Fox. Directed by Paul Mazursky. With Art Carney (Harry Coombes). After his life-long New York City home is torn down, a retired schoolteacher makes a cross-country journey to visit his estranged children in this adaptation of King Lear.
1974. King Lear, New York Shakespeare Festival and PBS. Directed by Edwin Sherin. With James Earl Jones (Lear) and Raul Julia (Edmund). Filmed stage production / television production.
1973. Much Ado About Nothing, New York Shakespeare Festival and CBS Television. Directed by Nick Havinga. With Sam Waterston (Benedick). Filmed stage production / television production.
1972. Antony and Cleopatra, Folio Films. Directed by Charlton Heston. With Charlton Heston (Mark Antony).
1970. Hamlet, Hallmark Hall of Fame and NBC. Directed by Peter Wood. With Richard Chamberlain (Hamlet) and John Gielgud (The Ghost). Television production.
1970. Julius Caesar, Commonwealth United Entertainment. Directed by Stuart Burge. With Charlton Heston (Mark Antony), Jason Robards (Brutus), John Gielgud (Julius Caesar), Richard Chamberlain (Octavius Caesar), and Christopher Lee (Artemidorus).
1970. The Merry Wives of Windsor, Shakespeare Society of America. Directed by Jack Manning. With Gloria Grahame (Mistress Page). Television production.
1969. The Merchant of Venice, never released. Directed by Orson Welles. With Orson Welles (Shylock). The production was never finished and the negatives were lost, but the remains were compiled into a forty-minute print that is currently stored at the Munich Filmuseum.
1968. Kiss Me Kate, Rogo Productions and ABC. Directed by Paul Bogart. With Robert Goulet (Fred Graham/Petruchio). Musical inspired by The Taming of the Shrew, with backstage drama mirroring the plot that the actors are performing onstage; remake. Television production.
1967. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oberon and Columbia Pictures. Directed by George Balanchine and Dan Eriksen. A Midsummer Night’s Dream told without words through Balanchine’s ballet choreography.
1967. The Taming of the Shrew, FAI and Columbia Pictures. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. With Elizabeth Taylor (Katharine) and Richard Burton (Petruchio).
1965. Campanadas a medianoche (Chimes at Midnight), Alpine Films and Internacional Films. Directed by Orson Welles. With Orson Welles (Falstaff), Jeanne Moreau (Doll Tearsheet), Margaret Rutherford (Mistress Quickly), and John Gielgud (Henry IV). Sir John Falstaff becomes the main character in an epic tale composed of episodes from Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Henry V, and The Merry Wives of Windsor.
1964. Hamlet, Theatrofilm and Warner Brothers Pictures. Directed by Bill Colleran and John Gielgud. With Richard Burton (Hamlet) and Hume Cronyn (Polonius). Filmed version of Broadway stage production.
1961. Romanoff and Juliet, Pavla and Universal International Pictures. Directed by Peter Ustinov. With Peter Ustinov (The President of Concordia), Sandra Dee (Juliet Moulsworth), and John Gavin (Igor Romanoff). Romeo and Juliet during the Cold War features the children of the US and Russian ambassadors falling in love.
1961. West Side Story, The Mirisch Corporation and United Artists. Directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise. With Natalie Wood (Maria), Richard Beymer (Tony), Rita Moreno (Anita), and George Chakiris (Bernardo). A musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set in New York in the 1950s, with gangs called the Jets and the Sharks replacing the Montagues and Capulets.
1960. Macbeth, Hallmark Hall of Fame Production and NBC. Directed by George Schaefer. Television production.
1960. The Tempest, Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions and NBC. Directed by George Schaefer. With Richard Burton (Prospero) and Lee Remick (Miranda). Television production.
1958. Kiss Me Kate, Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions and NBC. Directed by George Schaefer. Musical inspired by The Taming of the Shrew, with backstage drama mirroring the play that the actors are performing onstage; remake. Television production.
1957. Twelfth Night, Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions and NBC. Directed by David Greene. Television production.
1956. Forbidden Planet, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Directed by Fred Wilcox. With Walter Pidgeon (Dr. Edward Morbius), Anne Francis (Altaira Morbius), and Leslie Nielsen (Commander John J. Adams). The plot of The Tempest is transported to an isolated planet inhabited only by the eccentric Dr. Morbius, his beautiful daughter, and his frightening creation.
1956. The Taming of the Shrew, Hallmark Hall of Fame and NBC. Directed by George Schaefer. Television production.
1955. Prince of Players, 20th Century Fox. Directed by Philip Dunne. With Richard Burton (Edwin Booth). This biography of Edwin Booth, the great American actor and brother of the infamous John Wilkes Booth, includes scenes from several Shakespeare plays, including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Richard III.
1954. Macbeth, Hallmark Hall of Fame and NBC. Directed by George Schaefer. Television production.
1954. Richard II, Hallmark Hall of Fame and NBC. Directed by George Schaefer. Television production.



1953. Hamlet, Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions and NBC. Directed by Albert McCleery. Television production.
1953. Julius Caesar, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. With Marlon Brando (Mark Antony), James Mason (Brutus), John Gielgud (Cassius), Deborah Kerr (Portia), and Greer Garson (Calphurnia).
1953. King Lear, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and Omnibus Productions. Directed by Andrew McCullough. With Orson Welles (Lear). Television production.
1953. Kiss Me, Kate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Directed by George Sidney. With Kathryn Grayson (Lilli Vanessi/Katherine), Howard Keel (Fred Graham/Petruchio), and Ann Miller (Lois Lane/Bianca). Musical inspired by The Taming of the Shrew, with backstage drama mirroring the play that the actors perform onstage.
1952. The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice, Mercury Productions Incorporated and Les Films Marceau. Directed by Orson Welles. With Orson Welles (Othello).
1950. Julius Caesar, Avon Productions. Directed by David Bradley. With Charlton Heston (Mark Antony).
1949. Julius Caesar, Amherst College Masquers, NBC Television. College production of Julius Caesar at Folger Shakespeare Library’s Elizabethan Theatre.
1949. Julius Caesar, CBS Television. Directed by Paul Nickell.
1949. Macbeth, NBC Television. Directed by Anthony Brown and Gerry Simpson.
1948. Macbeth, Mercury Productions Inc. and Republic Pictures Corporation. Directed by Orson Welles. With Orson Welles (Macbeth).
1948–1958. Studio One, CBS Television. Seven of the 467 hour-long dramas in this series were based on Shakespeare plays; many featured Charlton Heston. Television anthology series.
1947. A Double Life, Garson Kanin Productions. Directed by George Cukor. With Ronald Colman (Anthony John) and Shelley Winters (Pat Kroll). A matinee actor constantly transformed by the roles he plays is cast as Othello and overcome by the character’s murderous rage.
1946. Macbeth, Willow Productions. Directed by Thomas A. Blair.
1945. Strange Illusion, Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. With James Lydon (Paul Cartwright). Hamlet adapted to a California political family whose patriarch has been the victim of a mysterious accident and whose son is having strange and prophetic dreams.
1942. To Be or Not to Be, Romaine Film Corporation. Directed by Ernst Lubitsch. With Jack Benny (Joseph Tura) and Carole Lombard (Maria Tura). During the occupation of Poland, a troupe of ham stage actors engaged in a production of Hamlet uses parts of the play to prevent information about the Resistance from reaching the Nazis.
1940. The Boys from Syracuse, Universal Pictures. Directed by A. Edward Sutherland. Based on the Rogers and Hart Broadway musical inspired by The Comedy of Errors.
1939. Tower of London, Universal Pictures. Directed by Rowland V. Lee. With Basil Rathbone (Richard, Duke of Gloucester), Boris Karloff (Mord), and Vincent Price (Duke of Clarence). A version of Richard III.
1936. Romeo and Juliet, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Directed by George Cukor. With Norma Shearer (Juliet), Leslie Howard (Romeo), John Barrymore (Mercutio), Edna May Oliver (Nurse), and Basil Rathbone (Tybalt).
1935. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Warner Brothers Pictures. Directed by William Dieterle and Max Reinhardt. With James Cagney (Bottom), Joe E. Brown (Flute), Dick Powell (Lysander), Mickey Rooney (Puck), Victor Jory (Oberon), and Olivia de Havilland (Hermia).
1929. The Taming of the Shrew, Elton Corporation and United Artists. Directed by Sam Taylor. With Mary Pickford (Katherine) and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (Petruchio). Released in both silent and sound versions.
1924. Antony and Cleopatra, Universal Pictures. Directed by Bryan Foy. Silent.
1924. Romeo and Juliet, Mack Sennett Comedies. Directed by Reggie Morris and Harry Sweet. Silent.
1920. Romeo and Juliet, Star Comedy and Universal Film Manufacturing Company. Directed by Vin Moore. Silent.
1919. A Sagebrush Hamlet, Jesse D. Hampton Productions. Directed by Joseph Franz. With William Desmond (Larry Lang) and Walter Perry (Sheriff John Doe). Hamlet set in the Old West. Silent.
1917. The Mad Lover, Robert Warwick Film Corporation. Directed by Léonce Perret. With Robert Warwick (Robert Hyde). A version of Othello; also known as A Modern Othello. Silent.
1916. King Lear, Thanhouser Film Corporation. Directed by Ernest C. Warde. Silent.
1916. Macbeth, Reliance Film Company. Directed by John Emerson. Silent.
1916. Master Shakespeare, Strolling Player, Thanhouser Film Corporation. Directed by Frederick Sullivan. Silent.
1916. Romeo and Juliet, Fox Film Corporation. Directed by J. Gordon Edwards and Maxwell Karger. With Theda Bara (Juliet). All copies of this film have been lost. Silent.
1916. Romeo and Juliet, Quality Pictures Corporation. Directed by Francis X. Bushman and John W. Noble. Silent.
1914. The Merchant of Venice, Universal Film Manufacturing Company. Directed by Phillips Smalley and Lois Weber. Silent.
1914. Venus and Adonis, Selig Polyscope Company. Directed by Otis Turner. Silent.



1913. Cymbeline, Thanhouser Film Corporation. Directed by Frederick Sullivan. Silent.
1913. Julius Caesar, Edison Film Manufacturing Company. Directed by Allen Ramsey. Kinetophone.
1913. Much Ado About Nothing, Crystal Film Company. Directed by Phillips Smalley. Silent.
1912. Cardinal Wolsey, Vitagraph Company of America. Directed by J. Stuart Blackton and Laurence Trimble. With Clara Kimball Young (Anne Boleyn). Based on Henry VIII. Silent.
1912. As You Like It, Vitagraph Company of America. Directed by J. Stuart Blackton, Charles Kent, and James Young. With Maurice Costello (Orlando) and Rose Coghlan (Rosalind). Silent.
1912. Indian Romeo and Juliet, Vitagraph Company of America. Directed by Laurence Trimble. Romeo and Juliet among Native American tribes. Silent.
1912. The Merchant of Venice, Thanhouser Film Corporation. Directed by Lucius Henderson. With William Bowman (Shylock). Silent.
1912. Richard III, Le Film d’Art, M.B. Dudley Amusement Co., and Sterling Camera and Film Company. Directed by Andre Calmettes and James Keane. Silent.
1911. Romeo and Juliet, Thanhouser Film Corporation. Directed by Barry O’Neil. With George Lessey (Romeo) and Julia M. Taylor (Juliet). Silent.
1911. The Tempest, Thanhouser Film Corporation. Directed by Edwin Thanhouser. Silent.
1910. The Merry Wives of Windsor, General Film Company and Selig Polyscope Company. Directed by Francis Boggs. Silent.
1910. Twelfth Night, Vitagraph Company of America. Directed by Eugene Mullin and Charles Kent. With Charles Kent (Malvolio) and Edith Storey (Sebastian). Silent.
1910. The Winter’s Tale, Thanhouser Film Corporation. Directed by Theodore Marston and Barry O’Neil. Silent.
1909. King Lear, Vitagraph Company of America. Directed by J. Stuart Blackton and William V. Ranous. With Maurice Costello and Edith Storey. Silent.
1909. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Vitagraph Company of America. Directed by J. Stuart Blackton and Charles Kent. With Charles Chapman (Peter Quince), Maurice Costello (Lysander), and Clara Kimball Young (Penelope). Silent.
1908. Antony and Cleopatra, Vitagraph Company of America. Directed by J. Stuart Blackton and Charles Kent. With Maurice Costello (Mark Antony) and Florence Lawrence (Cleopatra). Silent.
1908. Julius Caesar, Vitagraph Company of America. Directed by J. Stuart Blackton and William V. Ranous. With Charles Kent (Julius Caesar) and Florence Lawrence (Calphurnia). Silent.
1908. Macbeth, Vitagraph Company of America. Directed by J. Stuart Blackton and William V. Ranous. With Paul Panzer (Macduff), Charles Kent (Duncan), and Florence Lawrence (Banquet Guest). Silent.
1908. The Merchant of Venice, Vitagraph Company of America. Directed by J. Stuart Blackton. With Maurice Costello and Paul Panzer. Silent.
1908. Othello, Vitagraph Company of America. Directed by William V. Ranous. With Paul Panzer (Cassio). Silent.
1908. Richard III, Vitagraph Company of America. Directed by J. Stuart Blackton and William V. Ranous. With Maurice Costello, Florence Lawrence, and Paul Panzer. Silent.
1908. Romeo and Juliet, Vitagraph Company of America. Directed by J. Stuart Blackton. With Paul Panzer (Romeo), Florence Lawrence (Juliet), and Charles Chapman (Montague).
1908. The Taming of the Shrew, American Mutoscope and Biograph. Directed by D. W. Griffith. Silent.



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