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A Midsummer Night's Dream

Ian Hunter  Actor James Cagney  Actor Grant Mitchell  Actor Olivia de Havilland  Actor Mickey Rooney  Actor Ross Alexander  Actor Victor Jory  Actor Joe E. Brown  Actor Hobart Cavanaugh  Actor Dick Powell  Actor

MPAA Rating: NR
Contains:Suitable for Children

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

UPC: 012569591226

Studio: Warner Home Video

MPAA Rating: NR   Contains:[Suitable for Children]

Summary: Max Reinhardt's legendary Hollywood Bowl production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream was transferred to the screen by Warner Bros. in 1935. Like most of Shakespeare's comedies, the story contains several seemingly unrelated plotlines, all tied together by a single unifying event, in this instance the impending wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. One story thread concerns the mistaken-identity romances of four young Athenians; another involves a group of "rude mechanicals" who plan to stage a production of "Pyramus and Thisbe" in honor of the wedding; and third plot strand is motivated by the mischievous misbehavior of invisible fairies Oberon, Titania, and Puck. While one of the members of Reinhardt's original stage cast, Olivia De Havilland (Hermia) was retained for the film version, the remainder of the roles went to Warners' ever-reliable stock company. Some of the casting is inspired: James Cagney is brilliant as vainglorious amateur thespian Bottom, while Joe E. Brown is ideal as the reluctant female impersonator Flute. As the four lovers, De Havilland and Jean Muir far outshine the smirking and simpering Dick Powell and Ross Alexander. In the dominion of the fairies, Mickey Rooney is a bit too precious as Puck, but Anita Louise is a lovely Titania and Victor Jory a suitably menacing Oberon (his opening line "Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania!" still sends shivers down our spines). Cagney and Brown's fellow "mechanicals" are an odd mixture of the sublime (Frank McHugh) and the just plain silly (Hugh Herbert). While the performances and direction (by Reinhardt and William Dieterle) are uneven, the art direction and special effects (especially the nocturnal dance of the fairies) are breathtakingly beautiful. Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream" incidental music is masterfully orchestrated by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, while the cinematography by Hal Mohr earned the first write-in Academy Award in Hollywood history (Mohr had not been nominated due to hostilities arising from a recent industry strike). Considered a brave failure at the time of its first release, on a purely visual level A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of the more satisfying Shakespearean cinemadaptations of Hollywood's golden age. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Category: Romance

Awards: Best Cinematography – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Editing – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Picture – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 10 Best Films – Film Daily

Features: Commentary by film historian Scott MacQueen
Olivia de Havilland screen test
Vintage featurette a Dream Comes True
Presenting...
Gallery of 6 teaser trailers showcasing cast members
Warner Bros. Studio Café teaser trailer
Musical short Shake Mr. Shakespeare
Theatrical trailer
Subtitles: English, Français & Português (main feature. bonus material/trailer may not be subtitled)

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Format: DVD

Release Date: 08/14/2007

Audio: DD1 Dolby Digital Mono

Runtime: 143 Minutes

Sides: 1

Number of Discs: 1

Language(s) English

Subtitles: English,French,Portuguese

Region: PCM mono

Chapters: Disc #1 -- A Midsummer Night's Dream
1. Overture [6:29]
2. Credits [2:02]
3. Pomp and Reveling [4:42]
4. Hermia's Options [1:43]
5. Rendezvous Plan [4:34]
6. Players of Parts [5:47]
7. Enchanted Wood [3:36]
8. Fairy Frolic [5:50]
9. Oberon's Command [3:07]
10. Demetrius and Helena [3:33]
11. Juice of the Flower [3:00]
12. Potion for Titania [3:01]
13. Potion for Lysander [4:52]
14. What Fools These Mortals [5:04]
15. Pyramus and Thisby Rehearsed [5:02]
16. An Ass of Bottom [4:23]
17. Lovestruck Titania [5:56]
18. Waiting Upon Bottom [3:04]
19. Intermission [:42]
20. Hellbent on Helena [4:53]
21. Contentious Couples [6:01]
22. Lulled to Sleep [8:15]
23. Donkey's Desires [4:22]
24. Departures To Fairyland [6:54]
25. Exit Oberon, Titania and Puck [4:05]
26. Bottom's Dream [4:51]
27. Theseus' Decree [2:23]
28. Royal Festivity [4:18]
29. Pyramus and Thisby Enacted [6:16]
30. Dying on Stage [6:31]
31. If We Shadows Have Offended [4:29]
32. Exit Music [2:58]

Craig Butler

Although it is not without flaws, the 1935 version of A Midsummer Night's Dream is by and large a delight. Given the casting, it's inevitable that there would be some grumblings with this Dream; for one thing, there's an awful lot of Hollywood in here and very little English. But, surprisingly, some of those Hollywood names turn in exceptional performances. Top of the list is the thoroughly delightful James Cagney as Bottom, leader of the mechanicals. His enthusiastic, audacious, ultimately captivating turn brings abundant life to the film and makes one forget that, really, this man shouldn't be so at home with Shakespeare. As one of Cagney's cronies, Joe E. Brown is also a surprising pleasure, making up for the misfire of fellow mechanical Hugh Herbert. An extraordinarily young Olivia de Havilland is fetching and entirely winning as Hermia, and Victor Jory is just about perfect as Oberon. On the down side, there's Dick Powell, entirely out of his depth as Lysander. Most controversial is the Puck of Mickey Rooney, which some find charming and appealing and others find busy and annoying; suffice it to say that while he admirably captures the feeling of youthful and irreverent mischief that is at the heart of the character, he does so in a manner that is often forced. Although the direction is a tad uneven, most of the film moves at a nice clip, and the co-directors create a convincing otherworldly feel to the proceedings. They are helped immeasurably by the sensational cinematography of Hal Mohr, which adds a gossamer sheen to even the deepest, darkest part of the forest and is in all ways magical. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi

Cast and Crew: William Dieterle  Director 
Charles Kenyon  Screenwriter 
Mary C. McCall, Jr.  Screenwriter 
Max Reinhardt  Director 
Max Reinhardt  Producer 
Ian Hunter  Actor 
James Cagney  Actor 
Grant Mitchell  Actor 
Olivia de Havilland  Actor 
Mickey Rooney  Actor 
Ross Alexander  Actor 
Victor Jory  Actor 
Joe E. Brown  Actor 
Hobart Cavanaugh  Actor 
Dick Powell  Actor 
Frank McHugh  Actor 
Dewey Robinson  Actor 
Hugh Herbert  Actor 
Otis Harlan  Actor 
Arthur Treacher  Actor 
Veree Teasdale  Actor 
Jean Muir  Actor 
Anita Louise  Actor 
Katherine Frey  Actor 
Helen Westcott  Actor 
Fred Sale  Actor 
Billy Barty  Actor 
Nini Theilade  Actor 
Kenneth Anger  Actor 

Country: USA