A Midsummer Night's Dream (1909)

Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy  |   Countries - USA  |  
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The earliest surviving screen version of William Shakespeare's romantic comedy, this Vitagraph production managed to cram most of the play into its one-reel running time. The Duke of Athens decrees that Hermia (Rose Tapley) shall forsake Lysander (Maurice Costello) in favor of her father's choice, Demetrius (William Ackerman). The lovers elope into the woods, quickly followed by Demetrius and his love, Helena (Julia Swayne Gordon). The town tradesmen, meanwhile, rehearse a play in honor of the duke's betrothal to Hippolyta. Back in the forest, Titania, Queen of the Fairies (Florence Turner), quarrels with Penelope, who avenges herself by sending Puck (Gladys Hulette) away with a magic herb, which, dabbed on the eyes of a sleeping person, shall make the "victim" fall in love with the first person to appear after awakening. Soon, Lysander and Demetrius are smitten with the wrong girls and Titania has fallen in love with Bottom (William V. Ranous, the egotistical leader of the tradesmen, whom Puck has turned into an ass. When Penelope discovers all this mischief, she lifts the spell and the wedding of the duke and Hippolyta can proceed.

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Keywords

fairy, forest, marriage-arranged, play [drama], woods [place]