A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (1909)
Article 4830 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Charles Kent and J. Stuart Blackton
Featuring Walter Ackerman, Charles Chapman, Dolores Costello
What it is: Silent Shakespeare
Fairies use magic to play with the affairs of lovers.
Here’s another silent adaptation of a Shakespeare play that cuts down the action to 13 minutes and lacks the Bard’s language. Of course it’s confusing, even with the unwieldy plot summaries that appear between the scenes, but I suspect these little short films were more intended as “highlights of…” rather than full blown productions. It does take advantage of the fact that it’s a movie to engage in cinematic special effects, especially in the scenes of fairies appearing and disappearing, and there are a couple of rather freaky shots of Puck on the wing. It also does play up the comedy, especially during the scenes involving the amateur actors’ production of a play. For what it is, it isn’t half bad.