As You Like It


1h 36m 1937

Brief Synopsis

Film version of Shakespeare's comedy of a young woman who disguises herself as a man to win the attention of the one she loves.

Film Details

Also Known As
William Shakespeare's As You Like It
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 8, 1937
Premiere Information
London opening: 3 Sep 1936; New York opening: 5 Nov 1936
Production Company
Inter-Allied Film Producers, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
London, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based on the play As You Like It by William Shakespeare (London, ca. 1599, published 1623).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,673ft (10 reels)

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 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.

Film Details

Also Known As
William Shakespeare's As You Like It
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 8, 1937
Premiere Information
London opening: 3 Sep 1936; New York opening: 5 Nov 1936
Production Company
Inter-Allied Film Producers, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
London, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based on the play As You Like It by William Shakespeare (London, ca. 1599, published 1623).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,673ft (10 reels)

Articles

As You Like It.


The tale of Rosalind, who dresses as a boy to attract the attentions of Orlando, is one of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies and in 1936, the fifth screen adaptation of Shakespeare's As You Like It was released. It was one of the first of the Bard's film offerings to be made with sound, and it starred Laurence Olivier - then an-up-and-coming stage actor. Top billing, however, went to Elisabeth Bergner, a popular Austrian actress at the time; it should be noted that the director, Paul Czinner, was also her husband!

Bergner actually recommended Olivier for the part after seeing him in the 1935 production of Romeo and Juliet, put on by his friend and colleague John Gielgud. Bergner reportedly declared to Czinner, "That is the man I want as my partner." Olivier was not sure about taking the role; his pal Gielgud was opposed to the idea of filming Shakespeare. In the end, however, money talks--faced with the irresistible draw of 600 pounds a week, he took the part. In a studio interview, he justified the decision as a rare opportunity to work with Bergner: "No one can play with Bergner without learning something from her. I suppose she is the finest Rosalind in the theatre today. She has played Rosalind so often that there cannot be a line of the dialogue or a detail of the part that she doesn't know exactly what to do with. It's a big chance for me to play with her." Olivier would soon be eating those words.

Olivier had committed to a tight working schedule by signing on with As You Like It. He was still performing Romeo and Juliet at night with Gielgud. During the thirteen week production schedule, he found himself on the film set at dawn and in front of an audience in the evening. Czinner assuaged the actor's concerns by hiring a top-notch production crew. Sir J.M. Barrie, author of the children's classic Peter Pan, was responsible for minimal rewrites of the script, and Jack Cardiff, who would become one of the industry's legendary cinematographers, was behind the camera. Cardiff, one of the first cameramen (and the first Brit) trained in Technicolor, would be later recognized for his masterful usage of light and his innovative techniques of filming.

The son of vaudevillian parents, Cardiff was in front of a camera at the ripe age of four, working with such personalities as Will Rogers and Adolphe Menjou. Ten years later, he had his first production job as a runner on The Informer (1929). An interview with Cardiff reveals the following anecdote: "During the making the assistant cameraman called the young Jack over, "When I tell you, during the shot, I want you to rotate the lens from this pencil mark to the other one." The scene was shot and Jack asked what he had done. "Well sonny, you followed focus." And that was the start of it all."

Cardiff's greatest triumphs would come through his collaborations with director Michael Powell. He won an Oscar® for Black Narcissus (1947), and the pair followed up their success with the ballet-themed The Red Shoes (1948), hailed as their piece de resistance. Cardiff went on to work with the best of the business, from directors such as Hitchcock, Huston, Vidor, Ford, and Mankiewicz, to talent such as Garbo, Bogart, Monroe, Dietrich, both Hepburns, and Fonda. In 2002, he was presented with an honorary Oscar® recognizing his "exceptional contribution to the state of motion picture arts and sciences," becoming one of the few "technicians" (as Cardiff refers to himself) to receive such a distinction. He is still working today, at almost ninety years of age.

For As You Like It, Cardiff had a co-cinematographer, Harold Rosson, who earned Oscar® nominations for The Wizard of Oz (1939) and The Bad Seed (1956); he was also well known in the Hollywood community for his brief marriage to Jean Harlow. Together Cardiff and Rosson filmed As You Like It in a tasteful but conservative visual style. The chemistry between the two leads was also subdued; Olivier and Bergner were not the ideal screen team the producers had envisioned. Olivier huffed, "I was trying to play Orlando . . . to a Rosalind with a German accent, whose impersonation of a boy hardly attempted to deceive the audience. . ." Bergner charged back, "He was not charming or friendly to work with. He could be inspirational, but he treated us both - me and my husband - as foreigners." As Olivier came in to shoot in the morning, and Bergner did not arrive to the set until mid-afternoon, the two rarely saw each other; thus most of their words and actions were delivered to empty spots where the other actor should be standing. As You Like It opened to mixed reviews, but was really just a starting point for Olivier, who would continue to see his star rise as Bergner's fell. The film has attained a curious cult status amongst Shakespearean film fans, many lauding Olivier's performance. He must not have thought much of it, though, as there is no mention of the film (or its co-star!) in his autobiography.

Producer: Paul Czinner, Joseph M. Schenck
Director: Paul Czinner
Screenplay: J.M. Barrie, Robert Cullen
Cinematography: Jack Cardiff, Harold Rosson
Film Editing: David Lean
Art Direction: Lazare Meerson
Music: William Walton
Cast: Elisabeth Bergner (Rosalind), Laurence Olivier (Orlando), Sophie Stewart (Celia), Henry Ainley (Exiled Duke), Leon Quartermaine (Jacques), Felix Aylmer (Duke Frederick).
BW-96m.

by Eleanor Quin
As You Like It.

As You Like It.

The tale of Rosalind, who dresses as a boy to attract the attentions of Orlando, is one of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies and in 1936, the fifth screen adaptation of Shakespeare's As You Like It was released. It was one of the first of the Bard's film offerings to be made with sound, and it starred Laurence Olivier - then an-up-and-coming stage actor. Top billing, however, went to Elisabeth Bergner, a popular Austrian actress at the time; it should be noted that the director, Paul Czinner, was also her husband! Bergner actually recommended Olivier for the part after seeing him in the 1935 production of Romeo and Juliet, put on by his friend and colleague John Gielgud. Bergner reportedly declared to Czinner, "That is the man I want as my partner." Olivier was not sure about taking the role; his pal Gielgud was opposed to the idea of filming Shakespeare. In the end, however, money talks--faced with the irresistible draw of 600 pounds a week, he took the part. In a studio interview, he justified the decision as a rare opportunity to work with Bergner: "No one can play with Bergner without learning something from her. I suppose she is the finest Rosalind in the theatre today. She has played Rosalind so often that there cannot be a line of the dialogue or a detail of the part that she doesn't know exactly what to do with. It's a big chance for me to play with her." Olivier would soon be eating those words. Olivier had committed to a tight working schedule by signing on with As You Like It. He was still performing Romeo and Juliet at night with Gielgud. During the thirteen week production schedule, he found himself on the film set at dawn and in front of an audience in the evening. Czinner assuaged the actor's concerns by hiring a top-notch production crew. Sir J.M. Barrie, author of the children's classic Peter Pan, was responsible for minimal rewrites of the script, and Jack Cardiff, who would become one of the industry's legendary cinematographers, was behind the camera. Cardiff, one of the first cameramen (and the first Brit) trained in Technicolor, would be later recognized for his masterful usage of light and his innovative techniques of filming. The son of vaudevillian parents, Cardiff was in front of a camera at the ripe age of four, working with such personalities as Will Rogers and Adolphe Menjou. Ten years later, he had his first production job as a runner on The Informer (1929). An interview with Cardiff reveals the following anecdote: "During the making the assistant cameraman called the young Jack over, "When I tell you, during the shot, I want you to rotate the lens from this pencil mark to the other one." The scene was shot and Jack asked what he had done. "Well sonny, you followed focus." And that was the start of it all." Cardiff's greatest triumphs would come through his collaborations with director Michael Powell. He won an Oscar® for Black Narcissus (1947), and the pair followed up their success with the ballet-themed The Red Shoes (1948), hailed as their piece de resistance. Cardiff went on to work with the best of the business, from directors such as Hitchcock, Huston, Vidor, Ford, and Mankiewicz, to talent such as Garbo, Bogart, Monroe, Dietrich, both Hepburns, and Fonda. In 2002, he was presented with an honorary Oscar® recognizing his "exceptional contribution to the state of motion picture arts and sciences," becoming one of the few "technicians" (as Cardiff refers to himself) to receive such a distinction. He is still working today, at almost ninety years of age. For As You Like It, Cardiff had a co-cinematographer, Harold Rosson, who earned Oscar® nominations for The Wizard of Oz (1939) and The Bad Seed (1956); he was also well known in the Hollywood community for his brief marriage to Jean Harlow. Together Cardiff and Rosson filmed As You Like It in a tasteful but conservative visual style. The chemistry between the two leads was also subdued; Olivier and Bergner were not the ideal screen team the producers had envisioned. Olivier huffed, "I was trying to play Orlando . . . to a Rosalind with a German accent, whose impersonation of a boy hardly attempted to deceive the audience. . ." Bergner charged back, "He was not charming or friendly to work with. He could be inspirational, but he treated us both - me and my husband - as foreigners." As Olivier came in to shoot in the morning, and Bergner did not arrive to the set until mid-afternoon, the two rarely saw each other; thus most of their words and actions were delivered to empty spots where the other actor should be standing. As You Like It opened to mixed reviews, but was really just a starting point for Olivier, who would continue to see his star rise as Bergner's fell. The film has attained a curious cult status amongst Shakespearean film fans, many lauding Olivier's performance. He must not have thought much of it, though, as there is no mention of the film (or its co-star!) in his autobiography. Producer: Paul Czinner, Joseph M. Schenck Director: Paul Czinner Screenplay: J.M. Barrie, Robert Cullen Cinematography: Jack Cardiff, Harold Rosson Film Editing: David Lean Art Direction: Lazare Meerson Music: William Walton Cast: Elisabeth Bergner (Rosalind), Laurence Olivier (Orlando), Sophie Stewart (Celia), Henry Ainley (Exiled Duke), Leon Quartermaine (Jacques), Felix Aylmer (Duke Frederick). BW-96m. by Eleanor Quin

Quotes

Sweet are the uses of adversity.
- Exiled Duke
And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe, and then from hour to hour, we rot and rot; and thereby hangs a tale.
- Jacques
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts...
- Jacques

Trivia

The play was an adaptation of the 1590 novel "Rosalynde, Euphues' Golden Legacie", by Thomas Lodge, who has been credited with giving Shakespeare the title for his play.

Little is known about the first performance (ca 1599), but tradition has it that Shakespeare himself had the part of "Adam". The play was rarely performed thereafter for over one hundred years.

The first printed version of the play came with the Folio of 1623.

The first performance in New York City, New York, USA was in 1786, and it has been revived on Broadway 21 times since, the last in 1986.

The movie script omits about one-third of the play, but added nothing on its own.

Notes

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 Variety review of the 1936 U.S. release, Mayer is credited with adaptation and Cullen is credited with the scenario; in the Variety 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 July 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 New York Times, As You Like It was "the first British talking picture of a Shakespearean play." According to Hollywood Reporter, 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 New York Times, 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." Variety 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, New York Times remarks "this must be rated her finest performance." Variety 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 New York Times, "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." Variety 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 New York Times, 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 New York Times. Modern sources note the following additional information: shooting began in November 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.