A fourth major Shakespeare film of the 1930s made in Britain was Paul Czinner’sAs You Like It(1936), made for $1 million by Twentieth Century Fox. Like the previous three Hollywood sound films, this production was (as Manvell says) ‘again a victim of the star system’. Czinner conceived the film as a vehicle for the talents of his wife Elizabeth Bergner, who in the event was unsuitable for Rosalind, the central character of both play and film. The charm of her screen character, according to Manvell, was in depicting ‘an ageless, kittenish quality, a kind of self-destructive femininity’, but a characterization foreign to that of Shakespeare’s Rosalind, who was written as ‘a forthright woman, capable, provocative and determined beneath her surface diffidence and charm’ (Manvell, 1971, 30, 31). Co-starring with Bergner as Orlando was 28-year-old Laurence Olivier. This was Olivier’s first role in a Shakespeare film, having turned down an offer to play Romeo in Cukor’s Romeo and Juliet on the grounds that ‘Shakespeare could not be filmed’ (Manvell, 36, n.3).
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