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Hamlet

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posted on 2024-01-29, 04:46 authored by Victoria DuckettVictoria Duckett

This chapter examines Sarah Bernhardt's appearance in the 1900 short film Hamlet. Part of Paul Decauville's program for the Phono-Cinéma-Théâtre at the Paris Exposition, Bernhardt's film featured the fencing scene of Hamlet. She had played (and toured) Hamlet successfully on the live stage the previous year. In this way, the film pointed backward just as it pointed forward, to a known theatrical show and to invention, to mechanical mediations that brought with them new ways of presenting and promoting theater. This chapter considers how live musicians, the phonograph, and hand-colored film contributed to Decauville's initiative and hence to Hamlet. It argues that Bernhardt's short film was a calculated response to the new media and to its possible future. Bernhardt did not just adapt her stage work for the screen; she was a savvy businesswoman aware that cinematized theater could attract new audiences to her.

History

Chapter number

2

Pagination

50-70

ISBN-13

9780333913161

Language

eng

Publication classification

BN Other book chapter, or book chapter not attributed to Deakin

Extent

6

Editor/Contributor(s)

Duckett V

Publisher

University of Illinois Press

Place of publication

Champaign, Ill.

Title of book

Seeing Sarah Bernhardt: Performance and Silent Film

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