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Friday, April 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 52.0° F  A Few Clouds
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A Midsummer Night's Dream
Rated
A genuine oddity: the Warner Brothers "stock company," plus Mickey Rooney, in one of legendary German stage director Max Reinhardt's spectacular stage mountings...in this case, of the Bard's gossamer romantic fantasy of Puck and Oberon and Titania and the realms of Peablossom and Mustardseed. It's easy to laugh at the casting: How often can you see the stars of Public Enemy or Golddiggers of 1933 doing Shakespeare? But, in fact, James Cagney is a superb Bottom and Rooney's almost frightening savage Puck - done while he was partially crippled - is a minor revelation. Warners never really followed up this elaborate stab at "culture" - unless you want to count the Paul Muni "biographies" - but their Midsummer Night's Dream remains one of the strangest and most endearing of the numerous Shakespearean films.
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