29 October 2001 | Snow Leopard
Colorful But Rather Fragmented
This is a colorful but somewhat fragmented early film version of Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice". In the play, the dialogue is very important both to the plot and to the meaning, and so any silent version will miss a lot. As long as you are familiar with the story, you can still get enough out of it to make it worth a look, but it also leaves out some of the best parts of the play. One aspect that makes it worth seeing is that the Italian film-makers put lots of color into the costumes and some of the other details, using the painstaking old hand-tinting method. The production team did the same thing with King Lear, and that film (titled "Re Lear", in Italian) works better in silent format. This one is still worth a look for Shakespeare fans who like silent movies, but it does not work quite as well as a lot of the other early attempts to put the Bard onto film.