Play On - Shakespeare in Silent Film
In the early years of cinema, Shakespeare provided cultural respectability and familiar characters and stories for the fledgling medium. Over 300 Shakespeare films from all over the world were produced during the silent era, most of which are now lost. This new compilation of material from the BFI's National Film and Television Archive showcases 26 extracts of some of the very best material that survives, from a fragment of the 1899 British version of King John through a beautifully hand-stencilled Italian version of The Merchant of Venice from 1910, a splendid 1909 US film of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and an early Romeo and Juliet that may include the first onscreen appearance of the legendary actor John Gielgud. Presented with a specially commissioned new score by musicians from the Shakespeare's Globe theatre in London.
- Play On! Making the Music (2016, 10 mins)
- King Lear (1910, 13 mins, silent with commentary by Judith Buchanan)
- The Winter's Tale (1913, 43 mins, silent with commentary by Judith Buchanan)
- Living Paintings (Romeo and Juliet) (1924, 1 min, silent with commentary by Judith Buchanan)
- Silent Shakespeare (2004, 88 mins): programme of silent Shakespeare films with music by Laura Rossi and commentaries by Judith Buchanan