Hamlet (1921) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hamlet (1921)

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Denmark's leading silent-screen actress Asta Nielsen had the audacity to play the title role in Hamlet, produced by her in Germany and co-directed by Svend Gade. Nielsen actually succeeded in turning the Bard's perhaps finest play into a star vehicle for herself. Mistakenly believing her husband to have died, a scheming Gertrude raises her daughter as a boy and heir-apparent. Nielsen's Hamlet is not only Horatio's best friend in this version, but she falls in love with him as well, thus becoming Ophelia's rival. The scenes between Hamlet and Horatio (and to a lesser degree between Hamlet and Fortinbras) are quite intense in what, for all the world, appear as homosexual trysts. Nielsen did not base her prince(ss) of Denmark entirely on Shakespeare, obviously, but also on a then much-talked-about novel by one Professor E. Vining. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

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