For most of us, “seeing Shakespeare” means experiencing live actors in a theater. But for more than 100 years, Shakespeare’s words, plots, settings and characters have also been brought to life on film.
Shakespeare on film has never been like Shakespeare on stage. In the earliest years of the medium, it simply couldn’t be. Then, as film matured, directors realized that the medium offered new ways to tells Shakespeare’s stories that were impossible to reproduce on stage.
Along the way, trends, like multiplex theaters, the rise of independent films, and teen comedies, and directors from Orson Welles to Laurence Olivier to Julie Taymor and Joss Whedon have reshaped and reimagined Shakespeare.
Our guest for this Shakespeare Unlimited episode is Sam Crowl, professor of English at Ohio University. He’s also the author of A Norton Guide to Shakespeare and Film, Shakespeare at the Cineplex, and Shakespeare Observed. He was interviewed by Rebecca Sheir.
This episode was produced by Richard Paul; Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Tobey Schreiner at public radio station WAMU in Washington and Steven Skidmore at WOUB, a public radio station in Athens, Ohio.