A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Directed by William Dieterle. US. 1935. NR. 133 minutes. Warner. 35mm.
Sun., September 4, 2016
Continuing our informal theme of honoring the 400th birthday of William Shakespeare, we are proud to present one of the most beautifully photographed (and most unusual) films of the Golden Age. Imagine, if you will, a Shakespearian play filmed with a cast of Hollywood stars who, though largely unschooled in classical acting and blank verse, fill the screen with Shakespearian fantasy. With James Cagney taking time off from being a gangster to play Bottom, Dick Powell as Lysander, Olivia de Havilland as Hermia, and even a very young Mickey Rooney as Puck, this film is a true Hollywood curiosity, but a fun one. Based upon the immensely popular theatrical production by famed stage director Max Reinhardt, and set amidst lavish and fantastical woodland sets, this is, as the London Radio Times has so aptly put it one of the pottiest movies ever made in Hollywood. Come see it and join in the fun. (The amazingly atmospheric black and white photography of this movie deservedly won an Oscar for cinematographer Hal Mohr – the only time that a write-in candidate ever won an Academy Award.) (Bill Roth)