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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: November ::
Re: MND Dumb Show
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2598  Wednesday, 14 November 2001

From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Nov 2001 09:02:56 -0800
Subject: 12.2591 Re: MND Dumb Show
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2591 Re: MND Dumb Show

Hey, Peter, you read my article about the novelisation!

>The Max Reinhardt - William Dieterle 1935 film of MND was originally
>intended to begin with the war of the Athenians with the Amazons, as
>Russell Jackson's recent article on the screenplay shows. What is more,
>since a still showing the battle found its way into a 'novelisation' of
>the film, it looks likely that the material was shot and then discarded.

Actually, the BLB type book you mention does not have a photo of the
battle, nor is the battle described in the detail you find in the scenes
that were filmed, leading me so think it probably was not.  It is
mentioned only in retrospect.

  Many years ago, Theseus, king of the ancient city of Athens,
  was away, waging a war against Hippolyta, the queen of the
  Amazons... Theseus and his men had been gone from Athens for
  some time.  His people were anxiously awaiting news from him.
  One day one of the carrier pigeons that he had taken with
  him returned to its cage in the city of Athens bearing a
  message tied to its wing.  The little piece of parchment was
  unfolded with eager hands.  The king had been victorious,
  but more than that, the king was bringing home Hippolyta,
  queen of the Amazons to be his wife!  (*Warner Bros. Present
  Max Reinhardt's Production of A Midsummer Nights' Dream by
  William Shakespeare*, Fictionization by Helen Davidson.  New
  York: Engel-van Wiseman Book Corporation, 1935, p.p. 9 & 10)

That is everything written about the battle.  It is summed up, not
narrated, in less than a page and a half, including the post-battle
pigeon and parchment.  The book then continues as described in my
*Shakespeare Bulletin* article, with the proclamation being created and
hung, and the mechanicals laboring at their jobs, with photographs of
the hung proclamation, viewed by Quince and a donkey, and some of the
mechanicals at work.

Allow me to seize this opportunity to thank Russell Jackson once again,
as I did in the article, for publishing his findings on the
Reinhardt/Dieterle film, which gave me something to build upon, and for
being so generous with his time by confirming a couple of my guesses,
and checking something in a library to which he had access, when I was a
continent and an ocean away.  Russell is an excellent and generous
scholar, and one of my heroes.  Buy his *Cambridge Companion to
Shakespeare Films*.

BTW, Peter, I heard you are working on a film book too.  I'm looking
forward to it, and wish you much success with it.

All the best,
Mike Jensen

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