Beerbohm Tree, King John, Act V, Scene 6: Death of John; 1899: First Shakespeare Film

This tiny clip of Beerbohm’s King John is from the first filmic version of a Shakespeare play. It shows the elaborate staging for which he was famous. Later he filmed his magnificent production of Shakespeare’s King Henry VIII, providing a precedent for the later historical-costume epics of cinema. All copies of the film were intentionally destroyed, to secure high previous attendance.

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1899

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Except where otherwise specified, all written commentary is © 2016, Hugh Macrae Richmond