As You Like It (1936)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Errors, Period Film, Romantic Comedy  |   Release Date - Sep 3, 1936 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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An early sound adaptation of Shakespeare, As You Like It originally was of interest for the chance to catch Elisabeth Bergner's portrayal of Rosalind, which was much acclaimed on the stage. Nowadays, Like is much more likely to be watched due to the presence of a very young Laurence Olivier in the role of Orlando. It's interesting to watch Olivier, acting Shakespeare in a film over which he did not exercise control and in a role which does not offer the actor the chance to stretch his dramatic prowess to a significant degree. Orlando is a perfectly fine role, with some very nice speeches, but it's not the dominating figure that Olivier and other classical actors yearn to play. His performance is quite good, yet not as good as one wishes; one gets the feeling that the actor isn't totally committed to the character. Bergner is another matter. Some partisans praise her performance and give her exceptionally high marks, but most will find her mannered; most will also find her portrayal of a boy to be unconvincing, to say the least. Still, there is a special quality about Bergner that impels one to watch her, even if one is not "buying" what she is doing. The supporting cast is good, the direction is dull, and the adaptation is fine, even if the parts of Jacques and Touchstone have suffered from too much editing. Jack Cardiff and Hal Rosson provide atmospheric cinematography, although working together seems to have hampered their inventiveness a bit.