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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

William Dieterle, Max Reinhardt with James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland



1935, U.S. The influential German theater director Max Reinhardt brings together ballet, classical music, literature, and Expressionist art for this generous Hollywood-by-way-of-Berlin Shakespeare adaptation, a fusing of his ornate theatrical aesthetics with the zippy professionalism of Warner Bros., who hired him after his acclaimed 1934 Hollywood Bowl staging of the play. The musical prelude—a magical symphony of playful fairies and lovers in love with love—sets the tone for one of the studio system’s most sumptuous films, and also introduces the work’s other major (and unseen) character: Mendelssohn’s score.

“Boasting the most elaborate fantasy sequences of any Hollywood talkie before The Wizard of Oz, Reinhardt’s Dream is a triumph of vulgarity.” – J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

Olivia de Havilland (who starred in the stage production) joins a classic Warner Bros. cast of James Cagney (Bottom), Dick Powell (Lysander), comic Joe E. Brown, and the teenage Mickey Rooney (Puck), while experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger makes his film debut as an Indian changeling prince. (Garbiñe Ortega, Pacific Film Archive program notes) The Library of Congress’ preservation print restores the film to its original length.

Experience ArtsEmerson’s presentation of
Susurrus, a sensual reinterpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in the Public Gardens this month!


A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

May 28 @ 2pm
May 29 @ 7pm

Bright Family Screening Room



$10. $7.50 for Members & Seniors. $5 for Students.



Running Time:

132 minutes


Black and White, 35mm




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