Shakespeare Writing "Julius Caesar"
|Shakespeare Writing "Julius Caesar"|
|Directed by||Georges Méliès|
by William Shakespeare
Méliès himself plays Shakespeare in the film. The film was his last cinematic work derived from the plays of William Shakespeare; earlier in the same year, Méliès had filmed a film adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Release and reception
Shakespeare Writing "Julius Caesar" was released by Méliès's Star Film Company, and is numbered 995–999 in its catalogues. It was registered for American copyright at the Library of Congress on 25 October 1907. The film is currently presumed lost.
The film scholar Robert Hamilton Ball, in his study of Shakespearean silent films, calls the film "a pleasant little scenario", but comments that the film's concluding tableau, strongly reminiscent of Méliès's work as a magician, "unfortunately shows … the need for a transformation, however inappropriate." In an article on Shakespearean cinema, Anthony Guneratne mentions the film, highlighting that by "showing the poet struggling to dramatize difficult material," Méliès created "a special-effects-dominated precursor of Shakespeare in Love".
The historian Deborah Cartmell comments: "It's not hard to speculate that Méliès's decision to play the part of the playwright is an implicit assertion that the filmmaker is 'the new Shakespeare,' but, as the film is no longer available, it is impossible to know how far this can be taken."
- Malthête, Jacques; Mannoni, Laurent (2008), L'oeuvre de Georges Méliès, Paris: Éditions de La Martinière, p. 352
- Ball, Robert Hamilton (1968), Shakespeare on Silent Film: A Strange Eventful History, New York: Theater Arts Books, pp. 35–36
- Cartmell, Deborah (2008), "Theater on film and film on theater in Hamlet", in Fotheringham, Richard; Jansohn, Christ; White, R. S., Shakespeare's World/World Shakespeares: The Selected Proceedings of the International Shakespeare Association World Congress, Brisbane, 2006, Newark: University of Delaware Press, p. 176
- Guneratne, Anthony (2006), "Cinema Studies: 'Thou dost usurp authority': Beerbohm Tree, Reinhardt, Olivier, Welles, and the Politics of Adapting Shakespeare", in Henderson, Diana E., A Concise Companion to Shakespeare on Screen, Malden, MA: Blackwell, p. 38