The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0654 Thursday, 11 March 2004
Date: Wednesday, 10 Mar 2004 12:06:59 -0500
Subject: Hamlet On Film Query Follow Up
Many thanks to the many who responded to my query regarding Hamlet
productions on film. It is clear to me now that I hadn't gotten the
questions quite right - that it was Sarah Bernhardt who first performed
Hamlet on film and that Hepburn's Morning Glory recitation was the first
time the speech "To be or not to be" was spoken in film. No doubt I
accidentally confused Bernhardt with Asta Neilsen because the latter was
foremost on my mind while working on the catalogue.
It's too late now to append the information to the catalogue, but I'd
like to confirm that this is the case for my own peace of mind. Ken
Meaney mentions a recitation by Donald Calthrop in the Elstree Calling
revue of 1930, but was this a vaudeville type assemblage of acts, or was
the To Be speech integrated into a story line? Does it make a
difference, or is the first occurrence the first, no matter what form it
And now that I have the Bernhardt issue sorted out, does anyone have an
earlier Hamlet on record?
Sorry to have taken so long to follow up on this.
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