A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968 film)

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A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Nights Dream (1968 film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Hall
Written by William Shakespeare (play)
Music by Guy Woolfenden
Cinematography Peter Suschitzky
Edited by Jack Harris
Release date
September 1968
Running time
124 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a 1968 film of William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Peter Hall.


It stars Derek Godfrey as Theseus, Barbara Jefford as Hippolyta, Diana Rigg as Helena, Helen Mirren as Hermia, Ian Holm as Puck, Ian Richardson as King Oberon, Judi Dench as Queen Titania, and Paul Rogers as Bottom, as well as other members of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The film premiered in theatres in Europe in September 1968.[1] In the U.S., it was sold directly to television rather than playing in theatres, and premiered as a Sunday evening special, on the night of 9 February 1969. It was shown on CBS (with commercials).[2]

The film was only the second, after Max Reinhardt's 1935 film, sound film adaptation of the play.[3][a] It portrayed the fairies as "wild, near-naked creatures in a primitive, sinister wood."[4] and "the subsidiary fairies were bedraggled child actors; the artisans authentic, almost contemporary rustics."[4] that "contrasted with the sedate courtly milieu of of an actual Warwickshire country house."[4] Sukanta Chaudhuri—editor of The Arden Shakespeare, third series edition of the play—describes it as "a notable blending of the traditional with the innovative."[4] Peter Holland, editor of The Oxford Shakespeare edition described it as "[turning] the sentimentality into something rougher and muddier; his fairies, accompanying Titania (Judi Dench), naked with her modesty covered by a long wig, were dirty urchins covered in mud."[5]

The "Athens" scenes were shot at Compton Verney House.[6]


The film was generally poorly received by critics.[7] Penelope Houston, reviewing the film for The Spectator, wrote:[8]

Mr Hall's lovers … caper in their mini-skirts and flowered Beatle blouses … around a stately home so sparsely furnished that you feel the removal men are either assembling or dismantling. But stage influences and scaling creep in: half the time … they might as well be running around one small studio-planted coppice, with another daub of mud slapped over their foreheads at the end of each circuit. Make-up seems to present unlikely difficulties: Peaseblossom, Mustard Seed and their confreres … appear startlingly haggard, as though late nights ministering to Titania were taking their toll. The vaguely silvery, vaguely dun-coloured faces of Oberon's flock seem to belong at stage distance; close- up, the fairy kingdom looks like a dusky progressive school suffering from a nasty epidemic of pink-eye.


Notes and references[edit]



  1. ^ Mullin 1975, p. 529.
  2. ^ BUFVC: Midsummer Night’s Dream, A n.d.
  3. ^ a b Chaudhuri 2017, p. 38.
  4. ^ a b c d Chaudhuri 2017, pp. 17–18.
  5. ^ Holland 2008, p. 25.
  6. ^ Mullin 1975, p. 532.
  7. ^ Mullin 1975, pp. 529, 534.
  8. ^ Houston 1969.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]