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Shakespeare Films in the Making
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  • 22 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 294 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.6 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 791.43/6
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PR3093 .J33 2007
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Shakespeare, William,--1564-1616--Film adaptations
    • English drama--Film adaptations
    • Film adaptations--History and criticism

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521815475)

Shakespeare Films in the Making examines the production and reception of five feature-length Shakespeare films from the twentieth century, focusing on the ways in which they articulate visions of their Shakespearean originals, of the fictional worlds in which the films are set, and of the movie-makers' own society. Warner Brothers' 1935 A Midsummer Night's Dream and MGM's 1936 Romeo and Juliet were products of the Hollywood system and reflect the studios' desire to enhance their status with 'prestige pictures'. Olivier's 1944 Henry V was part of Britain's cultural war effort and embodies visions of the medieval past and ideal leadership. The Romeo and Juliet films of Renato Castellani (1954) and Franco Zeffirelli (1968) embodied visions of Renaissance Italy that contrast - in differing ways - with MGM's film. This book offers readings of these significant and influential films, supported by extensive archival research, including studio documents, script revisions, publicity materials and reviews.

• Unique use of archive material suggests new ways of seeing the films, in relation to the work of film-making • Provides a strong sense of the films' reception and production, placing them in the context of social and cinema history • Includes an appendix listing previously unpublished script materials


Introduction: 'Such stuff as dreams are made on'; 1. Max Reinhardt's recurring Dream: Hollywood, 1935; 2. Pastoral-Historical: Olivier's Henry V, 1944; 3. Visions of Renaissance Italy: 'More Stars than there are in Heaven': MGM's Romeo and Juliet, 1936; 4. Realism and Romance: Renato Castellani's Giulietta e Romeo, 1954; 5. Renaissance Verona and the generation gap: Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet, 1968; Appendix: unpublished script materials.


'Russell Jackson's bold and engaging Shakespeare Films in the Making takes the study of Shakespeare on film in a rewarding new direction. … Jackson's book is written in a lively and witty style and manages to scatter its own gold dust over its treatment of these five representative films drawn from the first four decades of Shakespeare on film in the age of sound. Shakespeare Films in the Making will delight the general reader and instruct the grizzled scholar as well as leading the field of Shakespeare on film criticism and theory a productive path from the archives to the viewing room.' Samuel Crowl, Ohio University

'This book is a masterpiece of scholarship and analysis, not to mention lucid prose that distinguishes the argument … No review can do justice to the excellence of this book, which must be studied firsthand by teachers and scholars of Shakespeare on film, not to mention prospective directors of the plays onstage or on the screen. The single most important contribution of this book is its exposition of the symbiotic and sympathetic connection between creators of an art form and viewers of it.' Albert C. Labriola, Duquesne University

'There is much to be gained from the technical expertise that Jackson imparts to the reader …' Courtney Lehmann, Shakespeare Quarterly

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