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July 2000, Week 5


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 30 Jul 2000 11:35:09 EDT
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In a message dated 7/30/00 10:54:42 AM, [log in to unmask] writes:

<< I just saw Almereyda's _Hamlet_, and in it, Paula Malcolmson plays
"Marcella," a female Marcellus who is presumably the girlfriend of
Horatio.  On stage this is relatively common.  I recently saw a
Western-style production of _The Taming of the Shrew_ at Ball state
University which had a Biondella and a Grumia, and the former seemed to
be Tranio's girlfriend.  I know this occurred during the "silent"
period; Sarah Bernhardt played Hamlet in the 1900 film, a role she had
played over 300 imes on stage.  Is anyone aware of any other sound films
which did this, particularly with supporting characters like Marcellus
whose gender was unimportant and the defaulted to male with the all-male
casts of Shakespeare's day?

Scott >>

Don't know about sound and it's the lead performance not a minor role, but
the most interesting example of transgender performance and adaption I know
of would be Asta Nielsen's "Hamlet." Hamlet is born a girl but to protect the
throne, the Queen announces that it's a boy. The female Hamlet (Asta) is thus
brought up disguised as a boy but has problems with the affections of Ophelia
and longs for Horatio. It's a wonderful film and one of the more interesting
interpretations of Shakespeare on film.

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & VIdeo

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