Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Shakespeare cut down to 12minutes, 28 seconds!  Being a silent film, Shakespeare's glorious language is missing, making this more of a curiosity than anything else.  Ah, well.  There still remains a hint of the Bard's wit.

Florence Turner, "the Vitagraph Girl," was one of filmdom earliest stars, appearing in 189 films from 1917 to 1943, most of which were silent released before 1929.  She plays Viola in Twelfth Night and had previously appeared in other truncated Shakespearean films such as Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Julia Swayne Gordon played Olivia.  It was her sixth film role, all of which were in Shakespearean films.  IMDb lists 229 credits for her -- only a few of which were in talkies.  Actor Tefft Johnson, a veteran of silent and probably best known as Sunny Jim's father in a long series of Sunny Jim movies, played Orsino.  Charles Kent (Malvolio) left a fifty-year career on the stage to be featured in 143 silent.

Eugene Mullin provided the scenario for Shakespeare's play and directed the film, along with (purportedly -- IMDb lists his participation as unconfirmed) Kent.  This was the first of 66 silent movies Mullin directed and the fourth directorial stint (if he did) for Kent.

To paraphrase:  some films are born great, some films achieve greatness, and other films have greatness thrust upon them.  You decide which of these three categories -- if any-- describes Twelfth Night.

No comments:

Post a Comment