As You Like It (1937)

96 or 100 mins | Comedy-drama, Romance | 8 January 1937

Director:

Paul Czinner

Producer:

Paul Czinner

Cinematographer:

Harold Rosson

Editor:

David Lean

Production Company:

Inter-Allied Film Producers, Ltd.
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HISTORY

Shakespeare's play was an adaptation of the novel Rasalynde, Euphues' Golden Legacie , written by Thomas Lodge in 1590, which, in turn, was based on Gamelyn , an old tale of unknown authorship. Lodge has been credited with suggesting the title that Shakespeare used. Different prints of this film and reviews conflict concerning the writing credits: on a print of the 1936 United States release, R. J. Cullen is credited with the scenario and as production manager; on a print of the 1949 re-release by United Artists Corp., Carl Mayer is credited with adaptation and R. J. Cullen is credited only as production manager; in the Var review of the 1936 U.S. release, Mayer is credited with adaptation and Cullen is credited with the scenario; in the Var review of the London opening and all the other trade reviews, Mayer is not mentioned. According to modern sources, Mayer was the literary editor of Inter-Allied, which was a company registered in Jul 1935 and backed by Fox. In a lobby card for the 1949 re-release, Sir Laurence Olivier's name is above the title, while Elisabeth Bergner's name appears in smaller print after the title. On both prints, the title card reads "William Shakespeare's As You Like It ."
       Inter-Allied's first film was to be George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan with Elisabeth Bergner, but that production was never begun. According to NYT , As You Like It was "the first British talking picture of a Shakespearean play." According to HR , the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration reported that this was the ... More Less

Shakespeare's play was an adaptation of the novel Rasalynde, Euphues' Golden Legacie , written by Thomas Lodge in 1590, which, in turn, was based on Gamelyn , an old tale of unknown authorship. Lodge has been credited with suggesting the title that Shakespeare used. Different prints of this film and reviews conflict concerning the writing credits: on a print of the 1936 United States release, R. J. Cullen is credited with the scenario and as production manager; on a print of the 1949 re-release by United Artists Corp., Carl Mayer is credited with adaptation and R. J. Cullen is credited only as production manager; in the Var review of the 1936 U.S. release, Mayer is credited with adaptation and Cullen is credited with the scenario; in the Var review of the London opening and all the other trade reviews, Mayer is not mentioned. According to modern sources, Mayer was the literary editor of Inter-Allied, which was a company registered in Jul 1935 and backed by Fox. In a lobby card for the 1949 re-release, Sir Laurence Olivier's name is above the title, while Elisabeth Bergner's name appears in smaller print after the title. On both prints, the title card reads "William Shakespeare's As You Like It ."
       Inter-Allied's first film was to be George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan with Elisabeth Bergner, but that production was never begun. According to NYT , As You Like It was "the first British talking picture of a Shakespearean play." According to HR , the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration reported that this was the forty-seventh film based on a Shakespearean play. Director Paul Czinner was the husband of Bergner, who was famous for playing the role of Rosalind on stage in Berlin. According to NYT , Bergner, who left Germany after Hitler came to power in 1933, "would not venture to play [Rosalind] in English until she had perfected her English accent." Var comments about Bergner's performance, "she is charming, she is cute, she is good; but she does not speak English clearly.... her Teutonic accent ... is a nuisance and it jars." However, NYT remarks "this must be rated her finest performance." Var also notes that the film, more simple and direct than the two recent American film productions of Shakespeare's plays, Warner Bros.'s A Midsummer's Night Dream , and M-G-M's Romeo and Juliet , "is the most Shakespearean Shakespeare screen play yet." According to NYT , "the script abridges the text [of the play] by a third, but most of the lines are easily spared, and it has added nothing of its own." Var notes that the roles of Touchstone and Jaques have been "cut down to almost nothing, a real shame, since thay are important to the film and since the former, Touchstone, is perhaps Shakespeare's most completely satisfactory character."
       Some reviews credit Gavin Gordon with the role of Amiens, while the film credits and other reviews list Stuart Robertson. According to NYT , this was American cameraman Hal Rosson's fourth British film. Lazare Meerson, who designed the sets, previously worked in France, where he was the art director on most of Rene Clair's films, according to NYT . Modern sources note the following additional information: shooting began in Nov 1935; J. M. Barrie, who worked on the treatment, wrote his last play, The Boy David , at this time for Bergner; Olivier trained with professional wrestlers for the wrestling scene and did his filming during the day for thirteen weeks while he was playing Mercutio to John Gielgud's Romeo on stage at night. Other film versions of the play include a 1908 version by the Kalem Co. with Gene Gauntier, directed by Kenean Buel; a 1912 Vitagraph Co. of America three-reel production, with Rose Coughlan, directed by J. Stuart Blackton and James Young; and a 1915 British production entitled Love in a Wood , with Elizabeth Risdon, directed by Maurice Elvey. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
12-Dec-36
---
Film Daily
6 Nov 36
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 35
p. 1, 3
Hollywood Reporter
19-Oct-35
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Dec 35
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 36
p. 9.
Motion Picture Herald
13 Jun 36
pp. 16-17.
Motion Picture Herald
19 Sep 36
p. 45.
New York Times
5-Jan-36
---
New York Times
6 Nov 36
p. 29.
New York Times
8-Nov-36
---
Variety
26 Sep 36
p. 16.
Variety
11 Nov 36
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Paul Czinner Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Dial supv
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Treatment suggested by
Scenario by
Adpt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set des
COSTUMES
Costumes des by
Costumes des by
MUSIC
[Mus] conducted by
DANCE
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play As You Like It by William Shakespeare (London, ca. 1599, published 1623).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
William Shakespeare's As You Like It
Release Date:
8 January 1937
Premiere Information:
London opening: 3 September 1936
New York opening: 5 November 1936
Production Date:
at Elstree Studios, England
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
96 or 100
Length(in feet):
8,673
Length(in reels):
10
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Feeling that he has been kept in virtual servitude by his elder brother Oliver since the death of their father, Sir Rowland de Boys, Orlando complains to his brother, who then slaps him. Orlando responds by grabbing his brother's throat and throwing him down, and he does not let him up until Oliver agrees to give him the allotment left by their father. As Orlando leaves, Oliver vows to himself that Orlando shall not get his inheritance. Charles, a huge wrestler, warns Oliver that Orlando plans to challenge him the next day at the estate of Duke Frederick, who has recently banished the previous duke, his younger brother. Although Oliver encourages Charles to break Orlando's neck, Orlando bests Charles, whereupon Frederick's niece Rosalind gives him a chain that she wears. Orlando is speechless, encumbered with feelings of love, and Rosalind's cousin and confidante Celia sees that she is also strongly affected. After Frederick, in an ill-temper, calls his niece a traitor and orders her to leave or face death, Celia suggests that they go together to the forest of Arden where Rosalind's father lives with a band of followers. To disguise themselves, Rosalind dresses as a man and calls herslf Ganymede, while Celia goes as Aliena, Ganymede's sister. When Frederick discovers them gone, he sends for Orlando, thinking he knows their whereabouts. Meanwhile, Oliver's old servant Adam informs Orlando that Oliver plans to burn his house with him in it, and they leave together. In the forest of Arden, Rosalind, Celia and Touchstone, Frederick's fool, whom they have convinced to journey with them, overhear Sylvius, a young shepherd, confess to Corin, an older and ... +


Feeling that he has been kept in virtual servitude by his elder brother Oliver since the death of their father, Sir Rowland de Boys, Orlando complains to his brother, who then slaps him. Orlando responds by grabbing his brother's throat and throwing him down, and he does not let him up until Oliver agrees to give him the allotment left by their father. As Orlando leaves, Oliver vows to himself that Orlando shall not get his inheritance. Charles, a huge wrestler, warns Oliver that Orlando plans to challenge him the next day at the estate of Duke Frederick, who has recently banished the previous duke, his younger brother. Although Oliver encourages Charles to break Orlando's neck, Orlando bests Charles, whereupon Frederick's niece Rosalind gives him a chain that she wears. Orlando is speechless, encumbered with feelings of love, and Rosalind's cousin and confidante Celia sees that she is also strongly affected. After Frederick, in an ill-temper, calls his niece a traitor and orders her to leave or face death, Celia suggests that they go together to the forest of Arden where Rosalind's father lives with a band of followers. To disguise themselves, Rosalind dresses as a man and calls herslf Ganymede, while Celia goes as Aliena, Ganymede's sister. When Frederick discovers them gone, he sends for Orlando, thinking he knows their whereabouts. Meanwhile, Oliver's old servant Adam informs Orlando that Oliver plans to burn his house with him in it, and they leave together. In the forest of Arden, Rosalind, Celia and Touchstone, Frederick's fool, whom they have convinced to journey with them, overhear Sylvius, a young shepherd, confess to Corin, an older and more cynical shepherd, that he loves Phebe, a young maiden. Meanwhile, Orlando, starving, draws his sword on the exiled duke and his followers. The duke's hospitality relieves Orlando's anger, and learning Orlando's identity, the duke reveals his affection for Orlando's deceased father. Frederick, learning that Orlando has gone, seizes Oliver's lands. In the forest, Orlando attaches poems proclaiming his love for Rosalind to trees. After Rosalind, still dressed as Ganymede, reads them, she taunts Orlando and professes to be able to cure him of his love if he will imagine her to be Rosalind and woo her everyday, while she will alternately like and loathe him, and thus drive him mad so that he will forget Rosalind. Later, Rosalind and Celia spy Phebe rebuke Sylvius' entreaties. Sylvius loves Phebe all the more after her rebukes, and Phebe becomes greatly attracted to Rosalind after she, as Ganymede, berates her. Because Orlando arrives late to see Rosalind, she scorns him at first, but then encourages him and has Celia conduct a mock marriage. When Orlando announces that he must leave for two hours to attend the duke at dinner, Rosalind warns him not to be late to return to her. On his way to see the duke, Orlando sees Oliver asleep under a tree with a snake curling around his throat and hears a lioness nearby. Later, Oliver comes to see Rosalind and Celia to explain the reason that Orlando has not come: he fought the lioness and rescued him; after a tearful reunion, Orlando found that the lioness had torn some flesh away, and he fainted from loss of blood. Upon hearing this, Rosalind also faints. During his visit, Oliver falls in love with Celia. Later, when Orlando tells Rosalind that his brother's upcoming marriage to Celia the next day has made him melancholy because of his love for Rosalind, she promises that if he loves her, he will marry her the next day. After Rosalind is reunited with her father, she marries Orlando, Celia marries Oliver, Phebe marries Sylvius and Touchstone marries a farm girl, Audrey. During the celebrations, a soldier from Duke Frederick reports that the duke, upon entering the forest to kill his brother, met an old religious man and was converted, and that the crown and lands have been restored to the exiled duke. Outside the gates, Rosalind delivers an epilogue in which she changes into a man to charge women to like as much of the play as it pleases them. Changing back to a woman, she charges men that between them and women, the play may please. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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