Thursday, June 10, 2010

Marketing with Shakespeare's Biography

“Master Will Shakespeare.” Dir. Jacques Tourneur. Perf. Carey Wilson and Anthony Kemble-Cooper. 1936. Romeo and Juliet. Dir. George Cukor. Perf. Norma Shearer, Leslie howard, Basil Rathbone, and Andy Devine. 1936. DVD. Warner Video, 2007.
MGM had another ax to grind in its biographical short on the life of William Shakespeare. This time, it's not based on myths—instead, it's based on marketing.

In the clip below, we learn what Shakespeare's favorite play was:
Romeo and Juliet. We even get to hear him deliver a speech from MGM's most recent Shakespeare production!

Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! And, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!
Here's to my love! (Romeo and Juliet, V.iii.112-19)
The clip concludes with a bit more Elizabethan theatre baiting—they were so unrealistic! [I assume they mean that Elizabethan stage practices look unrealistic to 1930s American film culture. And I can only imagine that the Elizabethans would be saying the same about the 1930s in America!]

Links: The film at IMDB.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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