Shakespeare on Screen

King John (Death Scene)
R: Walter Pfeffer Dando. B: Herbert Beerbohm Tree, based on William Shakespeare’s drama. K: William K.L. Dickson. D: Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Dora Tulloch, Charles Sefton. P: British Mutoscope & Biograph Studio. UK 1899
Print: Netherlands Film Museum

R: Lucius Henderson. B: Theodore Marston, based on William Shakespeare’s play. D: Florence La Badie, James Cruze, William Garwood. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation. USA 1913
Print: George Eastman House

King Lear (Fragment)
R: Ernest C. Warde. B: Philip Lonergan nach William Shakespeare. D: Frederick Warde, Lorraine Huling, Wayne Arey. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation. USA 1916
Print: George Eastman House

Frederick Warde, one of the best known stage actors of his generation, had played King Lear many times since 1896, and had starred as Richard III in the first known feature-length American film in 1912. In 1916-17 Warde was one of only three exclusive Thanhouser stars in these early days of the new star system” of high salaries and relentless promotion. As seen in the inter-titles, the players are boldly identified, but Thanhouser stubbornly refused to build the full star treatment publicity machine to the extent that competing studios did.
Among the striking advancements of the mid-1910s, as seen here, are much more rapid and fluid editing, an increase in the use of dialogue titles, freer use of close-ups and insert shots, new skills in shallow-focus cinematography, and ever-increasing complexity of narrative. This surviving print, cut down for a later re-release, is half its original length.
Warde gives an admirably subtle performance for the intimate camera, in contrast to the broad stage acting style that prevailed in film acting as well.
Ernest Warde, the director and actor (as the court jester), was star Frederick’s son, and a solid and experienced theatrical director in his own right.”