Reinhardt’s first and last film

I was chatting with a friend about one of my favourite movies. Max Reinhardt’s A Midsummernight’s Dream from 1935 is simultaneously very new and very old. While its black & white appearance hardly suggests anything cutting edge, its use of Sprechstimme is very original. I believe it’s the first film making references to the iconography of the Third Reich, so early in its anti-fascism that nobody –except the European refugees such as Korngold & Reinhardt who participated in the film—understood the references.
July 1st is Olivia De Havilland’s 97th birthday. Believe it or not, of the three members of the film who are still alive she is second oldest. Mickey Rooney, who will have his 93rd birthday September 23, is merely the third oldest. Nini Theilade just had her 98th on June 15th.
Here’s a post about the film from a couple of years ago.


The 1935 Warner Brothers A Midsummernight’s Dream (AMSD) directed by Max Reinhardt, is one of my favourite films.  This week I will once again get the pleasure of including it in my film music course.

If wishes were horses beggars would ride.  Ambition is another kind of wish, particularly when encapsulated in PR.  AMSD never seems to live up to the hype of the eight minute promotional film short (see immediately below: click on it to see it on youtube), because its chief ambition was not about box office success but prestige for Warner Brothers, who believed they had an image problem as purveyors of gangster pictures.

Talk about a strange and eclectic mix.  Reinhardt aims high, with his powerfully symbolic style, including two long and contrasting set-pieces.  Each one features long extended musical passages from Felix Mendelssohn’s incidental music for the play, arranged by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (his first…

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