12 March 2021 | lchadbou-326-26592
Gassman As Shakespeare Star Makes Interesting Comparison With Mosjoukine
This mid 50s coproduction, a vehicle for the theatrics of star/cowriter/codirector Gassman, gives viewers a chance to see what he was like on stage and makes an interesting comparison with, among others, a famous 1924 silent version of the same material featuring the equally larger than life Mosjoukine.
The romanticized biography of English Regency era Shakespeare actor Edmund Kean is largely similar though there is the added writer contribution here from Sartre.Instead of excerpts from Romeo and Juliet we get Othello and instead of the actor breaking tradition by talking to the audience during Hamlet before going mad here he does it during the climax of Othello,which had been turned into a comedy by the inexperienced replacement Desdemona and the rude comments of aristocratic snobs in the loges.
The big advantages this version offers are the spoken word ( especially interesting to hear the Bard adapted for Italian) and the lush production values offered by Gianni Di Venanzo's color cinematography, the sets and costumes, and the widescreen.
Mosjoukine the émigré Russian performer was arguably a greater actor than Gassman but this role suits the sometimes overly flamboyant Italian star to a T.
Up and coming director Francesco Rosi assisted Gassman with the technical side of the production, which is quite polished.