Cover image for Shakespeare in Hollywood, 1929-1956
Shakespeare in Hollywood, 1929-1956
Willson, Robert Frank, 1939-
Publication Information:
Madison, NJ : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
190 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR3093 .W57 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This book is a study of various film versions of Shakespearean plays produced by representative Hollywood studios during the industry's so-called Golden Age. The book discusses these largely neglected films in the context of the studios' house styles and characteristic genres, such as gangster, Western, and musical productions.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this readable study of the "Golden Age" of Hollywood Shakespeare films, Willson (Univ. of Missouri, Kansas City) discusses five productions and a medley of offshoots. He focuses on the efforts of the industry to reclaim its good name after the seamy, sexy decade of the 1920s. In four of the five films--The Taming of the Shrew (Sam Taylor, 1929), A Midsummer Night's Dream (William Dieterle and Max Reinhardt, 1935), Romeo and Juliet (George Cukor, 1936), and Julius Caesar (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1953)--stars assumed major parts in order to enhance the films'--and Shakespeare's--popular appeal. Hence "America's sweetheart" Mary Pickford joined husband Douglas Fairbanks in Kate and Petrucchio's premarital sport, and Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard, though past adolescence, played the star-cross'd lovers. Willson explores how each film (Orson Welles's low-budget Macbeth, 1948, is the fifth film discussed) contributed to the relationship between Shakespeare and Hollywood during the early years of "talkies." Willson's prose is readable, designed to appeal to a nonspecialist audience; his knowledge of Shakespeare on film is thorough, his research on Hollywood secure. This responsible and engaging study provides continuity to a thriving chapter in the life of studio Shakespeare. All film collections. ; Lafayette College