Shakespeare in Hollywood. How the cinema used the Bard as a status symbol and a model for storytelling

con Arturo Cattaneo e Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

People, and students, are now more familiar with Shakespeare’s plays through the visual media (cinema, TV) than they are through reading the actual plays or going to the theatre, so it might be interesting to consider how the relation between Shakespeare and the cinema began and developed.
When in the late 1920s the movies became talkies, that is sound films, the cinema had to confront itself with the theatre: now films too included words and dialogue. It was the beginning of a war waged by the film industry, Hollywood in the first place, against the theatre. Inevitably, in the English-speaking world the conflict turned around Shakespeare, the greatest playwright of all times. Could the cinema give the public the stories of the Bard just as well as the stage had done and continued to do? Or maybe even better?

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