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In order to study up for an audition for "As You Like It," what better person to study than Laurence Olivier?
Olivier was fantastic in this 1930s adaptation of the comedy. Even though he didn't have any memorable lines to work with, he plays the role really naturally. All two stars go to him. Everything else is really bland. I was hoping to gather some inspiration from the other male roles, but to little to no avail. I just want to be Olivier's Orlando! Rosalind... was a huge drag for me while I was watching. She became a bit unbearable. While I'm sure that the director I work with if I get a role has a great vision in it, this production seems rather uninspired. A lot of energy is zapped for me. Overall, some inspiration is gained, but not a lot. And now I want to shoot for Orlando (instead of the Dukes, Touchstone, or any other character).
This big screen adaptation of one of the most tongue in cheek but imperfect and messy Shakespearean works is stagy, outdated and rather clumsy, though notable for being the cinematic debut of Laurence Olivier.
I would have perhaps enjoyed this more if I could watch the film with subtitles so I could better understand the dialogue. The fact that Rosalind spoke with a French accent didn't really help, but I did manage to enjoy parts of it. I am certainly glad I knew the plot beforehand, though!
Stagey and static, the film is only of interest as being the first Shakespeare performance on film of the young Laurence Olivier (who gets second billing under Elisabeth Bergner). Of course, Larry is fine (hey, Larry Fine!), but he has very little to do as Orlando. As for his leading lady, Bergner is game but quite an odd duck - the Austrian wife of director Czinner, her Rosalind sports a thick German accent that is quite distracting. Not the best casting.
I am not sure why Shakespeare is so popular, I find a lot of his work very slow and boring. This film is quite tedious and very hard to stay interested, but it is finely produces. It is overacted by most, however, laurence Olivier in a very early role is excellent, and for his presence alone, the film garnered a 6 rating.
ENjoyable enough Shakespeare Romp, Olivier's first go at the bard on screen. But whilst he serves his purpose, Elisabeth Bernger is just irriatating. Felix Alymer does well, though.