Saturday, April 23, 2016

Silent Hamlet

What did Hamlet look like in 1910?  I'm not talking about the Sarah Bernhardt version (1900), although it's awesome that we have that.

No, I'm talking about this Italian production, which at first confused the heck out of me until I realized that it is just a collection of scenes, and not the whole play:

How many scenes do you recognize? I see Hamlet enter, reading. I see crazy Ophelia with her flowers. The special effects for the ghost scenes are lovely!  Wonderful to get an example of how they were experimenting with the medium over a century ago. There's not even any sound, but they're making ghosts.  Awesome.

The YouTube description calls this an Italian production, so I was surprised to see a card that reads "Der Wahnsinn Der Ophelia," which I'm gonna go ahead and guess is actually German. Google translate happily tells me it means, "The madness of Ophelia."

I could sit and watch this all night.  They actually add a scene where Ophelia discovers the dead body of her father!  How cool is that, that even without any text to work with, they're still open to the interpretation of adding new scenes?

I tried to get more details on who these people are, but would you believe that IMDB lists two different 1910 Hamlets?

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